espnW: Kerri Strug

Happy birthday, Kerri Strug!

November, 19, 2013
Kerri StrugAP Photo/Susan RaganKerri Strug's heroics helped the United States win its first gymnastics team gold in Olympic history.

Happy birthday to Kerri Strug, who turns 36 today! The darling of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, an 18-year-old Strug is best remembered for her iconic vault that clinched a gold medal for the United States in the gymnastics team competition. Strug, who had injured her ankle on a fall on her first vault attempt as the Russians chipped away at the Americans' lead, landed her second vault -- and then hopped onto her good foot before collapsing. She was later carried by coach Bela Karolyi to the podium. It remains one of the most legendary Olympic moments of all time. After the Games, Strug made the media rounds and even appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated and on a Wheaties Box with her teammates. Since her retirement from gymnastics, Strug attended UCLA and Stanford and has worked in a variety of U.S. government positions. She also has been an active marathon runner. Strug gave birth to her first child, a son, in March of last year.

Signature moment in Atlanta

July, 19, 2013
Kerri Strug, Bela KarolyiMike Powell/Allsport/Getty Images"In my 35 years of coaching," U.S. coach Bela Karolyi said of Kerri Strug's heroics, "I have never seen such a moment."
On this day in 1996, the Summer Olympics opened in Atlanta, setting the stage for seven women to make their way into our memory banks. And hearts. Amanda Borden, Amy Chow, Dominique Dawes, Shannon Miller, Dominique Moceanu, Jaycie Phelps and Kerri Strug – known as the Magnificent Seven – won the United States’ first gold medal in the gymnastics team competition. But first came the signature moment of the Games. After injuring her ankle on her first vault -- later diagnosed as two torn ligaments -- Strug landed her second vault, hopped on one foot to salute the crowd and the judges, and then fell to the floor. Her score – which was posted after Strug had been taken off on a stretcher -- of 9.712 clinched the gold for the Americans. It wasn’t until the 2012 Games in London that the United States won its second team gold medal with the Fierce Five -- Gabby, Douglas, Jordyn Wieber, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross and McKayla Maroney.