See Kerri Strug Now: 20 Years After Her Unforgettable Olympic Gold Medal Moment
Can you believe it's been two decades since the inspiring athlete secured the gold medal for the US women?
These days, Kerri Strug is married, a mom, and has a master's degree from Stanford University. She's 38.
But before all that, she became an Olympic legend exactly 20 years ago today after landing her second vault, on a hurt ankle, securing the first-ever gold medal for the US women's gymnastics team.
With the Rio Olympics upon us, it's pretty unbelievable to look back 20 years at the history Strug and her teammates made. It's even wild for her. "It’s amazing that it’s been longer than I was old at the time! On some days, it feels like we won the gold yesterday and on others it feels like a lifetime ago. It’s a great benchmark," she said in a recent interview.
Even if you didn't watch the competition in real time, you'll remember the video of the incredible (and incredibly painful) feat — and the sight of the 18-year-old athlete being carried to the medal podium by her coach.
Here's the clip, if you need a refresher.
And here's the iconic photo of Strug, clearly in massive amounts of pain, being carried to the podium to accept her gold medal:
And a shot of the Magnificent Seven with their gold medals:
After the Olympics, Strug was catapulted into the spotlight. She met President Clinton, she was a guest on countless talk shows, she and her teammates were pictures on a Wheaties box, and, the true sign of making it: Chris Kattan parodied her voice on Saturday Night Live as her "brother" Kippi Strug.
Strug retired from gymnastics shortly after all of this and attended UCLA then Stanford, and has since held jobs as a teacher, as a staff assistant with the White House Office of Presidential Student Correspondence, and the Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention staff as a presidential appointee. She got married in Tuscon in 2010 and welcomed a son in 2012.
Clearly, she'll be cheering on Team USA as they compete in Rio next month. Her advice for Gabby Douglas and the ladies: "I would tell them to keep doing what you’re doing, stay focused, you’re almost there. Enjoy the journey because it will be here and over before you know it."
Get to know the ladies of the 2016 Olympics women's gymnastics teams here: