Like Shun Fujimoto, Kerri Strug of Tucson, Arizona, won only one gold medal during her entire Olympics career. Also like Fujimoto, she became a national hero for how she did it. By 1996, women’s gymnastics was very popular in the United States, but the U.S. women’s team had never won a gold medal in the Olympics. Expectations for that year's team were high with the 1996 Olympics on home soil in Atlanta. The U.S. women had a big lead going into the final event, the vault, but Strug’s five teammates all either stumbled as they completed their routines or fell. Strug was last to perform. On her first vault, she fell and severely hurt her left ankle, scoring just 9.162. With the Russians wrapping up their floor exercise, scores had not yet computed, so no one was sure if that score was good enough to win. Courageously, Strug got up and performed her second vault on two torn ligaments. This time, she landed perfectly, scoring a 9.712. Seconds later, she hopped on her good foot and collapsed. As it turns out, her first score would have been good enough for the U.S. win, but her courage in the moment made Strug an instant heroine. She was hurt so badly that coach Bela Karolyi had to carry her to the medals podium, and she was unable to compete in any individual events. After the Olympics, she was honored at the White House. Strug'sVault


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