|Kerri Strug vaulted into Olympic history with her courageous performance during the 1996 Olympic Games. Kerri landed an unforgettable vault on an injured ankle to help the U.S. clinch its first Olympic gold medal in the team gymnastics competition. Her emotional performance has earned Kerri a variety of awards and accolades, from the Olympic Spirit Award to a spot on the Wheaties Box.
Her rise in the gymnastics world began long before her 1996 heroics. She began competitive gymnastics at age 8, where she followed in the footsteps of her older sister and brother. Kerri became the youngest American on the Olympic squad in 1992, where she earned a bronze medal in the Barcelona Olympics. She was a three-time World Championship medalist and member of five World Championship teams since 1991. She also won the 1996 McDonald’s American Cup and 1995 U.S. Olympic Sports Festival.
Kerri’s gut-wrenching performance in Atlanta earned her fame well beyond the gymnastics world. She was featured on the cover of both Time and People magazines. She appeared on television shows including “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Saturday Night Live,” and “Touched by an Angel,” as well as interviews on “The Today Show,” “Dateline,” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”
Only three months after the 1996 Olympics, Kerri started college. She earned her BA in Communications and an MA in Sociology from Stanford University. Following graduation, Kerri worked as a second grade teacher in San Jose, California.
Despite her busy schedule, Kerri volunteers her time and energy to a variety of charitable causes. Kerri has served as a spokesperson for the Special Olympics and the Children’s Miracle Network. She has also participated in projects with DARE, Pediatric AIDS, Make-a-Wish Foundation, and Childhelp. The Women’s Sports Foundation presented Kerri with the Reebok/Lady FootLocker Giving Back Award in recognition of her community efforts. Although no longer in competitive gymnastics, she maintains involvement in the gymnastic community through work with parents, kids, and coaches throughout the country at various gymnastic camps and clubs.
An author of two books, Kerri reaches out to others who can be inspired by her determination both inside and outside the gym. Heart of Gold targets younger readers who can learn of Kerri’s ups and downs as a young gymnast. Her autobiography, Landing on my Feet: A Diary of Dreams, focuses on the hard work and commitment that led to her heroic Olympic performance.
Kerri now resides in Washington D.C. where her patriotic spirit has led her to work for the government. She has held several positions in the federal government including; a position in the Office of Presidential Student Correspondence at the White House, the Treasury Department in the Office of General Counsel and is
currently a political appointee at the United States Department of Justice in the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention where she hopes to help and inspire our nation’s youth.