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Video:Profile of 1996 Women's U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team

with Megan Klein

In 1996, the U.S. women's Olympic gymnastics team won their first team gold medal. This About.com video will provide an overview of this historic team.See Transcript

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Transcript:Profile of 1996 Women's U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team

Hi, my name is Megan Klein. In this About.com video, I'm going to talk about the 1996 Women's Olympic team.

U.S. Women's Gymnastics Individual Success

The team consisted of Amanda Borden, Amy Chow, Dominique Dawes, Dominique Moceanu, Jaycie Phelps, Kerri Strugg and Shannon Miller. In the individual events, the team experienced moderate success. Dominique Dawes took a bronze medal on the floor final with a score that that only beat her fourth-placed teammate, Dominique Moceanu, by .12. Amy Chow also had success on the uneven bars with a score that tied China's Bi Weijing for a silver medal.

A bit of drama was had in the balance beams as Dominique Moceanu had a slip that scared all who watched. Luckily, she was able to hang on to the beam and actually composed herself for the rest of the routine. Despite the strong finish, her score was not enough to place. Meanwhile, Shannon scored a 9.862, which would be enough to win the title.

Kerri Strug Injured on First Vault Attempt

Moceanu's recovery and composure on the beam was inspiring, but the biggest story at the women's gymnastics and possibly in all the 1996 Olympics was that of Kerri Strug's vault to seal the U.S. victory over Russia and Romania. As the final member of the team to perform, Kerri needed to score a 9.493 or better in her best event to clinch the gold for her team. On her first attempt, Kerri under-rotated and fell on the landing. As she began to walk back for the second attempt, she was showing visible pain as she limped back to the start of the runway.

Strugs Wins Gold Medal for Team on Second Attempt

While something was obviously not right on her right ankle, Kerri quickly warmed up her legs by jumping in place, ignored the pain, and began her second attempt. As she sped toward the vault, questions about her ankle faded as she seemed unhindered. She flew in the air and landed perfectly with both feet, only to instantly raise the hurt ankle off the mat as she saluted the judges on one leg. It happened so quickly that it almost appeared that she had landed on one foot. After a brief salute, she then fell to the ground in pain and required assistance in order to leave the mat.

Legacy of 1996 U.S. Women's Gymnastics Team

The moment was almost symbolic of the determination the team showed to bring them to victory over the undefeated Russians. Her coach carried her to the podium to receive the groundbreaking team gold medal. Later, she would be treated at the hospital for some damage to the tendon and a third degree lateral sprain. The team enjoyed celebrity appearances, including several talk shows. Since the accomplishment of the 1996 team, the United States has placed in all three Olympics leading up to 2012.

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