Last NameSportCountryYear Inducted

Sport: Gymnastics
Inducted: 2000
Country: United States
Born: November 19, 1977 in Tucson, Arizona

Kerri Strug’s heroic performance at the 1996 Olympic Games ensured the United States’ first-ever Team gold medal in Women’s Gymnastics. She was recipient of the 1996 Olympic Spirit Award.

Coached by Bela and Martha Karolyi, Strug participated in five
World Championships beginning in 1991, winning Team silver medals in 1991 (at age 13) and 1994, and a Team bronze in 1995. At the 1992 Olympic Games, she won a bronze medal in Team Combined Exercises.

The diminutive 4'9", 88-pound Kerri Strug gave the Olympic Games one of its memorable and historic moments on July 23, 1996, as the last U.S. performer in the Vault even finals. With the U.S. Women’s Team at the brink of capturing its first-ever gymnastics gold
medal, U.S. coaches and Olympic media estimated that the American team needed points only Strug could provide in her final vault to give the Americans the championship.

But in her first vault, the 17-year old Arizonan fell and suffered torn ligaments and a third-degree sprain in her left ankle. Her teammates, thousands of arena spectators, and millions of television viewers worldwide could readily see Strug was in great pain and could barely walk on her injured foot as she consulted with coach Karolyi.

Opting to attempt her second and final vault, Kerri hopped on one leg to the start position, paused to gather herself, and sprinted toward the vault, as the world audience held its collective breath. Her vault was virtually flawless, as she nailed a near-perfect landing. The gold medal in Women’s Gymnastics Team belonged to the United States.

A member of the U.S. Senior Gymnastics Team from 1991 to 1997, specializing in Floor Exercises and Uneven Bars, Kerri began
gymnastics at the age of five. She won her first national title in
the All-Around event in 1989 at the American Classic in Oakland,
California. In 1991, she was number one in the Vault and third in
All-Around at the U.S. Championships. Kerri would go on to finish
first, second, or third—individual or team—in virtually every national and international competition she entered for the next five years.

Kerri Strug entered the University of California at Los Angeles and retired as an amateur following the 1996 Olympic Games.


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