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The Magnificent Seven

It was the summer of 1996. I was getting ready to enter the 6th grade as a second year level 8 gymnast. I was hoping for a better season this time around as we had gotten a new beam and floor coach.

Summer practices were hard. We ran outside, through a hilly course, and if the big girls lapped you… you ran again. Once you were done running, you practiced for five hours in a non-airconditioned, musty facility. In between rotations you could squeeze a few moments in front of the “big fan”.

And just when I was ready to give up, something happened, it was time for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. The nation erupted with pride as we competed with a home field advantage. The US Women’s Gymnastics team had not been historically great – we had never won an Olympic team gold medal as Russia, Romania, and Ukraine had dominated the scene.

But in the summer of 1996, there was a certain magic that took over our sport. One that just might be the reason I own Pinnacle Gymnastics today. Our team was made of gymnastics superstars – names I hope most of you reading this still remember today – Dominique Moceano, Dominique Dawes, Amanda Borden, Jaycie Phelps, Amy Chow, Shannon Miller, and Kerri Strug.

There are too many highlights for me when thinking about this time in gymnastics history, so allow me to highlight the top 5 moments that have influenced me in life and my career:

1) Dominique Moceanu’s Floor Routine

Devil Went Down to Georgia – I can still be caught doing this routine any time I hear this music at competitions. She was infectious. She made you watch her and smile while you did. She smiled the entire routine while executing amazing tumbling and dance elements in perfect sync with her crowd pleasing music. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G

2) Kerri Strug’s one legged vault

“You can do it” – still to this day, that is all some of our athletes need to hear – a belief in them that we know they can do it.

3) Shannon Miller – Gold Medal Beam

Listen to the periods of silence followed by eruptions from the crowd. Talk about being able to perform under pressure. Graceful, poised, flawless, fierce.

4) Dominique Moceanu – Beam

Let’s start with the mount. I tried that mount for years… I mean she makes it look so easy. It. Is. NOT. I have had athletes try it throughout the years as well. It always makes for an entertaining practice 🙂 And then there is the fall. Somehow she manages to miss her feet, land on her head on the beam, and stay on! And after all that, finishes her routine flawlessly. That is true grit.

5) Lilia Podkopayeva – Floor

No, she is not American, however this Ukranian gymnast could also captivate. Her toe point, grace, and ballet juxtaposed with her powerful tumbling show the true balance of grace and strength it takes to be a gymnast.

Do you have a favorite memory or series of events that have impacted your life choices, career, or relationships? Take a trip down memory lane and reminisce about what has led you down the path you are currently on… and don’t forget to turn the volume up 🙂

June 23, 2017 | Blog | 0

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