The United States Women’s Gymnastics Team at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games was nicknamed the Magnificent Seven after becoming the first American squad to win an Olympic gold medal in the women’s gymnastics team all-around competition.
The victory over Russia and two-time defending world champion Russia was significant. But the American squad, which included three national champions, was incredibly talented and poised.
Among the team members was 1994 U.S. champion Dominique Dawes, 1995 U.S. champion Dominique Moceanu and that year’s U.S. champion, Shannon Miller. Amanda Borden was the team captain. Amy Chow had the highest degree of difficulty in several events.
And then there was Kerri Strug, who delivered the iconic moment that captured the gold medal.
The United States was in excellent position to win the gold medal entering the final rotation of the competition, which had the Americans on the vault. At the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games, each team had seven members and entered six into each event, with the top five scores counting toward the team score. Miller, Dawes, Phelps and Chow successfully completed their vaults. Moceanu, however, fell on both of her landings and then Strug fell on her first landing, when it was evident that her left ankle was injured.
Strug returned to runway for her second attempt, and this time she nailed the landing, clinching the gold medal.
“Being the first women’s team to win gold and having it in the United States, on home soil, that’s why I think people remember us so much,” Miller said 20 years later at a team reunion. “It was such a dramatic way that we won the gold with Kerri on the vault; an iconic moment. People know exactly what they were doing and where they were in that moment.”