US Women's Gymnastics Team
- Olympic Gold medalist (1996)
- Olympic Bronze medalist (1992)
- All Around champion at the McDonald’s American Cup (1996)
- All Around silver medalist at the U.S. Olympic Trials (1996)
- Inducted into the Olympic Hall of Fame (2008)
Kerri Strug is a former American gymnast. She is widely remembered for her courageous Olympic vault performance despite having an injured ankle at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. Originally from Tucson, Arizona, Kerri began competing in gymnastics at the age of eight. In 1991 and at just 13 years old, she moved away from her family to train with legendary coach Béla Károlyi . The following year she became the youngest member of the entire U.S. team at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, coming away with a team bronze medal. She competed over the next two years despite the retirement of her coach. After dealing with a severe back muscle pull in the lead up to the 1994 World Championships, Kerri moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado to train during 1995. When Béla Károlyi came out of retirement, Kerri chose to once again train under him in 1996. She won the 1996 American Cup All Around and qualified for the 1996 Olympic Games as part of the U.S. women’s team, the group often referred to as the “Magnificent Seven.” The team event was notoriously dominated by the Russians for decades and never before won by the United States. The Russians started the team competition with a narrow lead. Heading into the vault, the first four U.S. women completed their landings, but struggled to land them cleanly and were docked precious points. Kerri was the last to vault for the U.S. and under-rotated the landing on her first attempt, damaging her ankle. In order to win the gold medal for her team, she had to land her second vault. She limped to the runway and managed to land her jump before collapsing. Due to her injury, she was unable to compete in the individual all-around competition and event finals and was famously carried to the medals podium to join her team. Kerri became a national sports hero for her final vault, the ultimate example of sportsmanship and sacrifice for the team.
Kerri participated in the Ice Capades and Disney’s World On Ice before attending the University of California Los Angeles and later Stanford University. After retiring from gymnastics and completing her education, she worked as an elementary school teacher before becoming a staff assistant with the U.S. Office of Presidential Student Correspondence. She worked for the U.S. Treasury Department and currently serves in the Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Kerri has also served as an Olympic Games television correspondent. She is involved in various charitable organizations, including Gene Spotlight, The March of Dimes, ING’s Run for Something BEtter, The Child and Family Network Centers, Main Street Theater, the Junior League of Washington, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation and the Prader-Willi Syndrome Association.