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Filling The Void

Filling The Void: The Vault Heard ‘Round The World

A look back at courage and perseverance despite injury and adversity. Revisit Kerri Strug’s heroic vault that gave the USA a team Olympic Gold Medal

Atlanta Olympic by nghiem vo is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Filling The Void: The Vault Heard ‘Round The World

Estimated Reading Time: 3 Minutes

Having a hard time with this whole “social distancing” thing? Yeah – us too. Especially when it comes to the lack of sports. So, we here at The Turf thought we’d offer a way to help ease the pain and suffering. While we may not have any of the current sports leagues to watch live, there is PLENTY of archive footage available at our fingertips. We’ve scoured the internet and assembled some of the most iconic, noteworthy and remarkable sporting events we could find. We also found some mundane, run of the mill matches and contests, that seemed banal at first watch. However, at this point, we’ll take anything that resembles sports, right? Each day, we’ll feature one of the contests and provide you a link where you can relive the glory, exhilaration, and thrill from the comfort of your couch.

The Summer of 1996 in Atlanta

There were a lot of things that make the Games of the XXVI Olympiad memorable. These games, held in Atlanta, were the Centennial Celebration of the Summer Games, which were first held in 1896 in Athens, Greece. They also marked the first time there was not a Winter Games held in the same year after the IOC adopted a new practice of holding the Summer and Winter Games in alternating, even-numbered years. There were 24 countries making their debut at these Games (including 11 former Soviet republics competing as independent nations). Several new competitions took their initial bow – among them were softball, beach volleyball, and women’s soccer.

The Games were briefly marred by violence on July 27th, when the Olympic Centennial Park was thrown into chaos after pipe bombs were detonated, killing 1 and injuring over 100. Some critics also felt the Games were overly commercialized and plagued with other logistical issues. Despite all of this, the games were tremendously and had plenty of remarkable moments and performances. One that stands out instantly took place in the Georgia Dome during the Women’s Gymnastics Team All-Around competition.

Today: Kerri Strug’s Gold Medal Clinching Vault

For many years, the Women’s Gymnastics events were dominated by the Soviet Union (in 1992 they competed as the Unified Team comprised of members from 12 of the 15 former Soviet Republics) and Romania. However, there was a lot of promise on the United States team that would eventually come to be known as The Magnificent Seven. Led by Dominique Dawes and 14-year-old Dominique Moceanu, the ladies had positioned themselves at the front of the pack heading into the vault – the final event of the team competition.

There was an earlier chance for the US to clinch the gold medal but Moceanu failed to nail her landing, leaving her with a score of 9.137 when it would’ve taken a 9.430. That set the stage for Strug.

The hometown crowd was on its feet, cheering Team USA on as Strug launched into the air on her first attempt. Unfortunately (in more ways than one), she was unable to stick the landing. What’s worse (and what we didn’t know at the time) – she had torn multiple ligaments in her ankle. It would all come down to that now legendary second and final vault. The pictures of her nailing the landing, then hopping on one leg as she turned to the judges, arms raised in triumph, are indelibly printed in Olympic History.

Her perseverance and gutsy performance helped the Magnificent Seven bring home the first-ever gold medal for Women’s Gymnastics in the Team Competition.

See You Tomorrow. Stay Safe. Stay Smart. Wash Your Hands.

Joe is an actor who grew up eating, living and breathing sports. He spent many an afternoon on the soccer or baseball field in his youth (and even gave several other sports a shot) before a series of events put him on the path to pursuing a performing career. Subsequently, he's worked almost every other type of job you could imagine while trying to support that endeavor. Whenever he's not working any of those jobs, he can often be found watching, playing or discussing sports in some way. Most of that banter revolves around the Mets, Giants, Rangers or Manchester United. His short term goal is to fully convert his fiance into a rabid sports fan, not someone who leaves the room whenever he turns a game on.

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