Iconic Photo: Kerri Strug, the magnificent seventh
“It’s important to push yourself further than you think you can go each and every day — as that is what separates the good from the great.” – Kerri Strug
There are times in Olympic Games that are indelible. We all know that the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta had controversy, but as an adopted son of this city I am proud to say I grew up in the city that hosted the centennial Olympic Games.
Many stories are told of each Olympic Games, but one in particular I'm pleased to share it because it shows the values of sport and speaks of what is work and sacrifice together.
Let's talk about this picture, this photo is iconic and is a top athlete who gave the best of herself to get the gold.
She is Kerri Strug, she was a member of the magnificent seven as many nicked named them in that time.
The magnificent seven represented the United States in gymnastics.
The U.S. team had the burden of history because they had never managed to win in gymnastics in team in the Olympic Games. The American team won by a narrow lead over their rival, Russia. Just a jump gave them the victory, and Strug was responsible for carrying it out.
In preparation for the Olympics, the 18 year old had overcome an injury and the temporary abandonment of his coach and mentor Bela Karolyi.
That day of the competition, she did the yurchenko moves and the first try was excellent, except for the fall. She stepped bad in her ankle, and it bent and she fell back. She received 9,162. The gold was in greater risk for USA.
Strug told her coach that she couldn't felt her leg. "You have to do it again. Forget the pain," Karolyi said to Strug. The confidence of her coach was contagious.
The young gymnast stood firm against the device. Breathing deeply to try to calm the pain. Her companions, on one side, also suffered. The gesture of determination before starting the journey to the jump seems to anticipate the end we saw that day in Atlanta.
She jumped on the air and landed firmly with one foot while the other touched the floor for balance. Then she knelt on the carpet taking the injured ankle. The judges scored her with a 9,712, and the United States became the champion.
Strug asked her coach to take her to the hospital. Karolyi refused, "No way. You have to receive the medal. you'll never live a moment like this again," he said and took her up to the podium.
She received the gold with tears of emotion and pain. She rose again and gave a lap of honor in front of all the 30,000 spectators who stayed at the Georgia Dome. We stood up; we applaud her and the magnificent seventh.
"I cried with joy and pain," Kerri Strug admitted after getting the gold medal in gymnastics, in Atlanta 1996 with a tiny detail, she had a sprained ankle when she gave her last jump to win the gold.
The only thing that Strug knew that day, apart from her ankle pain was that she would not have for another day of competition in Atlanta 1996 and only the teamwork could give her that gold medal.
Her individual dream for which she worked for four long years was over, and she knew the only way to achieve a gold medal was with the team.
Strug locked her frustration and the intense pain she had in her ankle.
This determination helped her to finished her routine on her two feet despite the excruciating pain she suffered. Strung achieved the glory in pain and more than that, she sacrificed her personal goals to achieve the gold as a team player.