With the 2012, London Games coming up, I thought it would be nice to take a look back at the 1996 USA Team, who will forever be known as The Magnificent Seven (or Mag Seven). The team consisted of both veterans and newcomers, with team captain Amanda Borden, Amy Chow, Dominique Dawes, Shannon Miller, Dominique Moceanu, Jaycie Phelps and Kerri Strug. This group was considered America’s best chance to take home an Olympic gold as a team.
Before this team, the best the U.S. had done was win silver in the 1984 Los Angeles games. Although the odds were in favor of abiding Russians, who had consecutively won eight Olympic team gold medals, America still had faith in this U.S. team.
The 1996 Games were a perfect mix of history and sports drama. Shannon Miller, U.S. veteran, did not disappoint with her performances and was in second place, behind Romanian world champion Lilia Podkopayeva. The last event, vault, is when things got really spicy. The Mag Seven was just in reach of the team gold, if the girls were able to perform a solid performance. The youngest girl Dominique Moceanu, fourteen-years-old, had the first attempt at the vault. She was unable to stick her first landing. The crowd held their breath as she took her second run; unfortunately, she slipped again and was unable to stick her landing. However, hope was not all lost because, Kerri Strug, was the U.S. teams second and final vaulter. A frightening pop was heard throughout the stadium as she fell on her landing. Uncertain of the team’s standing, Strug bravely faced the vault again, despite of her severely sprained ankle. Strug executed a perfect one-and-a-half twisting Yuchenko and stuck her landing. Her vault scored a 9.712, ensuring America’s first Olympic Team Gold, making U.S. history.
Best of luck to this years Olympic gymnastics team, both men’s and women’s!