Michelle Dusserre Farrell has maintained an impressive career within the Olympics and Paralympics for decades, beginning with her time as an Olympian and extending to her work with the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum.
At only 5 years old, she found herself somersaulting in California gymnasiums, leading to her training with SCATS, a renowned gymnastics club known for cultivating promising talent. Dusserre was no exception, and at the age of 15, she made the Los Angeles 1984 U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team, the youngest member of the squad.
Alongside teammates including Hall of Famer Mary Lou Retton, she helped the U.S. win the silver medal in the team event. Dusserre was known for her consistency in competition. This earned her the nickname “tablesetter” because coaches frequently had her perform first, raising the expectations and (hopefully) scores of the judges. This strategy was employed during the 1984 Games and is partially credited for the team’s overall success.
Following her Olympic career, Dusserre studied at Arizona State University and obtained her master’s degree from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs in nutrition. She has remained an active member of the Olympic community, having served on the Athlete’s Advisory Council at the USOC (now the USOPC) and within her current role as the vice president of athlete engagement at the Museum. She was inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2006.
Dusserre’s consistency and impressive organizational skills can be seen through her regimented training journal. While preparing for the Los Angeles 1984 Games, Dusserre took detailed notes of her many practices and competitions, being sure to note what went well, what needed improvement, and any other comments she had for her future self.
You can see her journal that’s on display at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum.