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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Olympic Motivation - One Tough Teenager

In our business and personal lives, we can find motivation from by people who overcome great difficulties to succeed. This 5 part series is focused on Olympic athletes who have endured injury, but persevered; facing their pain and not letting it deter them from their goals. 

One Tough Teenager

The US women were on the verge of an historic win in the team competition in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. In the team competition, an event dominated by the Russians for decades and never won by the United States, the U.S. competed with the Russian, Romanian, and Ukrainian teams. The Russians came into the team competition with a very narrow lead. The event came down to the final rotation on the final day of the team competition, July 23, 1996.

Then the unthinkable happened: Dominique Moceanu, the youngest member of the team, fell on both of her vaults. With just a slim lead over the Russian team, it was essential that Kerri Strug, the final American gymnast to nail her vault. But Strug fell too, injuring her ankle in the process.

In the time interval between her two vaults, Strug asked, "Do we need this? Coach Béla Károlyi replied, "Kerri, we need you to go one more time. We need you one more time for the gold. You can do it..."

It was time for her next vault. Strug limped slightly to the end of the runway and, ignoring her injury, she ran down for another attempt. She landed the vault briefly on both feet, almost instantly hopping onto only her good foot, saluting the judges, assuring the Americans their first Olympic team gold. She then crumpled to her knees in pain, requiring assistance off the landing platform.

Later, coach Károlyi carried her onto the medals podium to join her team, after which she was treated at a hospital for a third-degree lateral sprain and tendon damage.

NOTE: Due to her injury, Strug was unable to compete in the individual all-around competition and event finals, despite having qualified for both.

For more Olympic motivation and inspiration, pick up a FREE copy of the eBook “Olympic Gold” Click Here - no registration, no opt-in, no payment.

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