Flashback Friday: Injured Gold Medal-Winner Kerri Strug Gets a Lift From Coach After 1996 Olympic Victory

Celebrity News Aug. 3, 2012 AT 2:10PM
US Olympic artistic gymnastics' coach Bela Karolyi carries injured gymnast Kerri Strug onto the podium after his team won the women's gold medal on July 23, 1996 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The US won the event ahead of Russia and world champion Romania. US Olympic artistic gymnastics' coach Bela Karolyi carries injured gymnast Kerri Strug onto the podium after his team won the women's gold medal on July 23, 1996 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The US won the event ahead of Russia and world champion Romania. Credit: IOP/AFP/Getty Images

After years of preparation, one handspring almost ended it all for Kerri Strug.

At the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia, the 4-foot-8 gymnast tore two ligaments after landing -- with an audible crack -- on her ankle during a vault routine.

PHOTOS: Team USA's gymnasts

Yet the athlete was determined to press on in the hopes of helping Team USA's "Magnificent Seven" -- a group comprised of Strug, Shannon Miller, Dominique Moceanu, Dominique Dawes, Amy Chow, Amanda Borden and Jaycie Phelps -- secure the gold against Russia and Romania.

With gold-medal glory on the line, Strug agreed to give her routine -- busted ankle and all -- another go.

The athlete landed upright after a nearly flawless handspring, and the judges revealed her score: a 9.712, enough to secure the Magnificent Seven's victory.

VIDEO: The hottest Team USA athletes

"In my 35 years of coaching I have never seen such a moment," her coach, Bela Karolyi, later said. "People think these girls are fragile dolls. They're not. They're courageous."

Sixteen years later, America's "Fab Five" -- Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Jordyn Weiber, McKayla Maroney and Kyla Ross -- scored another Olympics gymnastics victory in London Tuesday, grabbing the gold for Team USA.

comments powered by Disqus