Defining Images of Kerri Strug & Other Olympians Should Be Preserved; Transfer Their Photographs Onto CD
Gymnast Won America’s Heart With Brave Second Attempt On The Vault
The 2009 World Championships for swimming just concluded in Italy. Once again, America’s Michael Phelps, the all-time leader in Olympic gold medals, rose to occasion and set several new records while helping his country’s team dominate.
This swimmer is the face of today’s U.S. Olympians, but he’s not the first. Remember Kerri Strug? Her 1996 Olympic victory was even more dramatic. Pictures shot on film then can now be compiled and scanned for digital record. Transferring such photographs onto CD would make preserving and sharing the magic of the moment a cinch.
Back in ‘96, when the Olympics were held in Atlanta, America was vying for greatness in the very popular sport of gymnastics. That year, it was believed, the U.S. had a great chance at finally toppling the Russian dynasty. The U.S squad, anointed the “Magnificent Seven,” featured Shannon Miller, Dominique Moceanu, Dominique Dawes, Amy Chow, Amanda Borden, Jaycie Phelps and Kerri Strug. Shannon and Dominique M. were the stars; Kerri was not a dominant player.
The team gold medal depended on the outcome of the vault competition. Although the American athletes were in the lead, a couple of low scores by the last two could cost the U.S. the gold. First up was Dominique M., who fell on both attempts and received poor marks. Second was Kerri, whose first vault severely injured her ankle. Judges gave it a low score.
As Kerri limped off the mat, she was unclear if the U.S. had enough to win without her second vault. Coach Bela Karolyi told her the first vault wasn’t enough. So Kerri walked over to the starting point again, noticeably limping.
Her second vault would be one of the most exciting in Olympic history, a moment captured by many photographers who have transferred their photographs onto CD and shared them online. Kerri ran fast, performed a difficult vault and stuck the landing, holding it on two feet for a brief but solid moment before hopping onto her one good leg. Her arms were raised in victory.
Kerri’s sheer determination is a reminder of the many other sports legends we’ve watched and admired, among them Mark Spitz, Carl Lewis, Jesse Owens, Greg Louganis, Bob Mathias, the 1980 U.S. Hockey team. These athletes share similar traits: pride, passion, grace, success, unbelievable willpower and mind-blowing talent. Their poignant memories should be saved and shared as well, by scanning their photographs onto CD. For future generations, their successes are an inspiration.