The 2016 Olympic Games will soon begin in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Every four years, the best athletes on the planet compete for gold, silver and bronze medals at what is billed as the largest sporting event in the world.
While surfing the William Davidson Digital Archives, I ran across a great story about the Olympics in Atlanta in the Aug. 2, 1996, issue of the JN. It reminded me that the real drama of the competition occurs on the field. In this respect, 20 years ago, the events of the 1996 Olympics are hard to beat. First, there was a bombing, which put everyone on edge. Yet the most dramatic moment in the entire Olympics belonged to an 80-pound, 4-foot 8-inch Jewish girl from Tucson, Ariz.: Kerri Strug. The press soon called her the “biggest little woman in America.”
Strug was part of the famed “Magnificent Seven” from America’s women’s gymnastics team. On her next to last vault, she severely injured her ankle. With the gold medal in the balance, in pain, Strug courageously made one last vault, landing squarely on her feet. She hobbled off the mat on one foot, but the Americans won the gold. This was a legendary performance. Afterward, as the photo here captures, Strug had to be carried to the podium. Talk about tough!
By Mike Smith, DJN Foundation Archivist
Want to learn more? Go to the DJN Foundation archives, available for free at www.djnfoundation.org.