Proud Moment To Be An American Pt.1

An American legend: Kerri Strug

With so many people across the country hurting and feeling down because of what American has transformed into, what better way to celebrate the upcoming Fourth of July and boost American spirit then to remember certain events that made a person proud to be an American? 

During the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, the U.S. women’s gymnastics team was on the verge of beating the Russians for America’s first ever-gold medal for the United States in the women’s team competition.  Referred by many as the Magnificent Seven, the U.S. team held a commanding 0.897-point lead over the Russians heading into the final event.  On that July 23rd day, history was made and an American legend was born in Kerri Strug.

With the U.S. on vault and the Russians on floor exercise and the U.S. on vault, the only way for the Russians to take the gold was if the U.S. women fell apart. which they started to do. The first four U.S. gymnasts had problems with their landings Dominique Moceanu fell twice, leaving Strug as the last gymnast. She fell on her first attempt, suffering what was later determined a third-degree lateral sprain and tendon damage. Not knowing how the Russian Roza Galieva would perform in her floor exercise as the last Russian to perform, U.S. coach Bela Károlyi told Strug, "Kerri, we need you to go one more time. We need you one more time for the gold. You can do it, you better do it."

Strug limped slightly to the end of the runway, took off, hit the vault, then landed on both feet, before hopping onto her good leg and saluting the judges. She then immediately collapsed onto her knees and had to be helped off the platform. She received a 9.712, which won the gold medal for the U.S. When the U.S. team climbed onto the platform to receive their gold medals, Károlyi had to carry her to join them.

The grit that Kerry Strug showed, not giving up even though injured, cemented her as an American legend.  It was a moment in time when Americans stood up and cheered.  Echoes of "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!" could be heard across the country.  It was a moment to be proud to be an American.