We absolutely cannot wait for the 2016 Summer Olympics, which kick off in Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 5. But as excited as we are to cheer on the latest batch of gold-medal hopefuls, that's not the only reason why August 2016 is noteworthy. It also marks the 20th anniversary of "The Magnificent Seven," the 1996 gold-medal-winning United States Olympic Women's Gymnastics Team. In what's often cited as one of the greatest sports moments of all time, American gymnast Kerri Strug clinched the gold for her team in the final moments of the competition by sticking her landing during her second vault in spite of the fact that she'd severely sprained her ankle during her first attempt.
Wonderwall.com recently caught up with the retired gymnast, now a 38-year-old mother of two, as she promoted Jared the Galleria of Jewelry's Miracle Links collection. Keep reading to see what she told us about the 20th anniversary of her major Olympic moment, how motherhood has affected her perception of Olympic athletes, what to expect during the 2016 Summer Games and more!
Kerri Strug on the 20th anniversary of the 1996 Olympic Games:
"I can't believe it's been two decades since Atlanta. On one level, it seems just like yesterday. Then at the same time, it seems like a lifetime ago. I went to college. I've done a lot of different things. I worked in [Washington,] D.C. and met my husband. I have two children to take care of. So I live a very different life than I did when I was just focused on becoming an Olympic gold medalist.
But I feel very fortunate that people remember my moment, and I'm very proud of it. I've tried to take what I've learned through my athletic career and implement it into the new chapters of my life. But it's always nice to reflect on that moment because it was something meaningful not just for me but for a lot of people.
I'm excited to share that special moment with my children as they get older. It's really cool to think that people still remember me as that girl who hurt her ankle but went anyways, who had a lot of dedication and perseverance and put her teammates in front of herself and showed courage when faced with adversity. Those are all traits that I think most of us find important and are excited to be characterized with."
On how motherhood as affected her perspective of Olympic athletes:
"At the time [during the 1996 Olympics], I was one of the older girls on the team -- one of the veterans. But now I look at the gymnasts out there who are 18, 19 or 20 and can't believe all that they're able to do at such a young age. Becoming a mother has just given me a very different perspective of athletics and what these athletes are willing to sacrifice and go through in their quest for gold."
On her relationship with her Magnificent Seven teammates now:
"We will be reuniting for our 20th anniversary in July  at the U.S. Olympic Trials in San Jose, California. USA Gymnastics is bringing us together. That'll be really exciting. I keep in touch with certain [members of the Magnificent Seven] here and there, but not on a regular basis. It has been 20 years. Everybody has a lot of responsibilities with their jobs and their families -- particularly those of us who have young ones. But you might be at a charitable function or at a specific Olympics-sponsored event and see one of them. I talk to Dominique Moceanu here and there because we trained together under the Károlyis. But it's not like we have a conference call with all seven of us on a regular basis."
On her plans for the 2016 Summer Olympics:
"I've been really fortunate that I've gone to every Summer Olympic Games since Barcelona [in 1992]. Clearly, after '96, I've just gone in some role with either an Olympic sponsor or served as an ambassador for a company. So I hope to do the same in Rio. Obviously the dynamics have changed -- I do have two young children. But I love the Olympic Games and hope to cheer on Team USA -- particularly the U.S. Women's Gymnastics Team, which has been dominating the field and I feel like [they] will certainly continue down that road in Rio."
On the Olympians she's excited to watch compete this year:
"If anybody's been watching the sport of gymnastics the last three years, Simone Biles has just been dominating the field. She's the reigning world champion, and we're expecting just great things from her. Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas from the 2012 team that won gold are very strong, and I predict that they will certainly be on the team unless they have injuries or something else comes their way. Then there are a lot of youngsters like MyKayla Skinner and Maggie Nichols, Madison Kocian and Bailie Key. There are several juniors who have now come up to the senior level and have a chance to vie for those two additional spots."
Now relive Keri's victory at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta by watching the video below.
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