Kerri Strug's One-footed Vault Propels the U.S. Women's Gymnastics Team to Gold

Kerri Strug was an gymnast for the 1996 U.S. Women's Olympic team.

Upon her first attempt Strug under-rotated the landing of her first attempt, causing her to fall and damage her ankle. Strug thus limped slightly to the end of the runway for her second attempt. She landed the vault briefly on both feet, almost instantly hopping onto only her good foot. Strug raised her arms after her vault, saluting the judges. She then needed assistance off the landing platform due to the injury. The completed vault received score of 9.712, which ended all doubt about whether the Americans would receive the gold.

Strug under-rotated the landing of her first attempt, causing her to fall and damage her ankle. As a result, the attempt was awarded 9.162 points. Retrospectively, after a poor performance from the final Russian Roza Galieva on floor, Moceanu's score would have been sufficient to beat the Russians even if Strug did not perform a second vault, as the lowest score for each team was dropped. However, Galieva performed after Strug, and therefore Keri needed to land a second vault on her feet in order to mathematically clinch the gold.

In the time interval between Strug's two vaults, she asked, "Do we need this?" Karolyi replied, "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 thus limped slightly to the end of the runway for her second attempt. She landed the vault briefly on both feet, almost instantly hopping onto only her good foot, saluting the judges. She then needed assistance off the landing platform due to the injury, to which Tesh commented, "Kerri Strug is hurt! She is hurt badly." The completed vault received score of 9.712, guaranteeing the Americans the gold medal. Karolyi carried her onto the medals podium to join her team, after which she was treated at a hospital for a third-degree lateral sprain and tendon damage.