Kerri Strug's Strug-le for Gold
June 6, 2012, 10:00 am
The United States women’s gymnastics team took home the gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia thanks to the clutch and courageous performance of Kerri Strug. She joined Chad Wednesday on the Morning Sports Page to talk about that gold medal-winning performance.
With the U.S. team holding a 0.897-point lead over the Russians for the top spot, it was going to take home the gold medal as long as the U.S. women managed to land their vaults cleanly. However, most of the US competitors struggled in their landings, taking extra steps and hops. And one teammate fell in each of her two attempts causing the point margin between the US and the Russians to shrink.
Strug was the final competitor for the US women that day. If she hit either of her landings, the US would take home the gold. If she faltered, Russia would probably take the lead and the gold medal.
In her first attempt, Strug under-rotated, causing her to fall and severely injure her ankle. After the fall, Strug asked her coach, Bela Karolyi, if they needed her final vault. He responded honestly. "Kerri, we need you to go one more time. We need you one more time for the gold. You can do it,” he said.
Although she was in noticeable pain, Kerri went back and landed the second vault attempt – on one leg, giving the US the gold.
The one-legged landing is one of the most iconic images in the history of Olympic sports.
Take a listen to the interview with Strug as she recants the great Olympic performance and talks about her life since the 1996 games.