At a glance

19 Nov 1977 Tucson, United States of America
142 cm / 37 kg 4'8'' / 81 pounds
Female
Kerri Strug was far from the greatest ever American female gymnast, but she may be the best remembered for one vault she did at the 1996 Olympics. With the USA challenging for the team gold medal, they had only a narrow lead over Russia and Romania going into the final rotation, with Strug scheduled for the horse vault. Strug was a vault specialist, but she landed poorly on her first attempt, and also injured her left ankle. She was not sure she could make another vault, but after consulting with her coaches, bravely decided to attempt it. Strug took the...

Kerri Strug was far from the greatest ever American female gymnast, but she may be the best remembered for one vault she did at the 1996 Olympics. With the USA challenging for the team gold medal, they had only a narrow lead over Russia and Romania going into the final rotation, with Strug scheduled for the horse vault. Strug was a vault specialist, but she landed poorly on her first attempt, and also injured her left ankle. She was not sure she could make another vault, but after consulting with her coaches, bravely decided to attempt it. Strug took the final vault, landed, hopped slightly on her one good leg, but otherwise was clean, and scored a 9.712, clinching the gold medal for the US. Unfortunately, the story was better than the reality. Without Strug taking the final vault, the US would still have won the competition by 0.309 points.

Strug also competed at the 1992 Olympics, helping the USA win a team bronze medal. At Atlanta in 1996, she had qualified first on the floor, but could not compete in the final because of her injured ankle. Strug also won three medals at the World Championships, all in the team event, with silvers in 1991 and 1994, and a bronze in 1995.

Strug was a media darling after her Atlanta vault on the injured ankle. She appeared on talk shows and earned numerous endorsements, actually performing in the Ice Capades and Disney’s World on Ice. However, she turned down many opportunities and attended college, starting at UCLA and then Stanford, eventually obtaining a masters’ degree in sociology.

Strug later worked initially as an elementary school teacher in San Jose, California, but then moved to Washington, DC in 2003. There she worked as a staff assistant with the US Office of Presidential Student Correspondence, then moved to a job at the General Counsel Office in the Treasury Department. In March 2005, Strug joined the Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention staff as a presidential appointee.

Kerri in numbers

2
Olympics
Olympics
2
medals
Gold medal:1 Silver medal: Bronze medal:1
  • Atlanta
    Atlanta 1996
    Games
    Results
    Sport
    Event
    Atlanta
    Atlanta 1996
    • 7 QR
      Gymnastics
      Individual All-Around
    • 1 Gold medal
      Gymnastics
      Team All-Around
    • 1 QR
      Gymnastics
      Floor Exercise
    • 5 QR
      Gymnastics
      Horse Vault
    • 14 QR
      Gymnastics
      Uneven Bars
    • 15 QR
      Gymnastics
      Balance Beam
  • Barcelona
    Barcelona 1992
    Games
    Results
    Sport
    Event
    Barcelona
    Barcelona 1992
    • 14 QR
      Gymnastics
      Individual All-Around
    • 3 Bronze medal
      Gymnastics
      Team All-Around
    • 15 QR
      Gymnastics
      Floor Exercise
    • =9 QR
      Gymnastics
      Horse Vault
    • 25 QR
      Gymnastics
      Uneven Bars
    • 20 QR
      Gymnastics
      Balance Beam

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