Greatest American Female Gymnasts
The United States has made marked improvements with respect to their gymnastics world rankings in the past decade or so. And whenever we speak of great gymnasts that America has ever produced, some names immediately come to mind: Dominique Moceanu, Kerri Strug, Amy Chow, Kathy Johnson, Brandy Johnson, Julianne McNamara and more.
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As follows is a list of athletes, who I regard as America’s greatest gymnasts as they have won accolades, not only in their homeland, but also on the international stage by winning many World and/or Olympic medals, particularly the all-around title.
Grace, consistency, impeccable form, flawless technique and perfect landings are what characterized Miller’s gymnastics. She began stamping her mark as a gymnast to reckon with at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, where she won silver in the all-around competition, narrowly missing the gold by the tiniest margin (0.012) in Olympic history; she went on to capture three more individual medals: a silver on balance beam and bronzes on uneven bars and floor exercise. Her haul of five Olympic medals (including a team bronze) set the record for the most gymnastics medals won by an American in a single non-boycotted Olympics. Following the 1992 Games, she became the only American to win two consecutive World all-around titles (1993, 1994); and has won titles on every apparatus except vault (1993 Worlds – bars and floor, 1994 Worlds – beam and 1996 Atlanta Olympics – beam), a total of six individual golds. She was also part of the Magnificent 7 that won the team gold at the 1996 Olympics. With nine World Championships and seven Olympic medals, an impressive combined total of sixteen, Miller is definitely America’s most decorated gymnast, male or female.
Liukin, the 2005 and 2006 US Senior National champion, certainly has inherited the best gymnastics genes there is, being the daughter of two ex-Soviet gymnasts, Valeri Liukin, an Olympic gold medallist and Anna Kotchneva, a World rhythmic gymnastics champion. In the 2005 World championship, she placed a controversial second in the all-around, losing the gold by a mere one one-thousandth of a point (0.001) due to rounding discrepancy. She also won World titles on uneven bars (2005) and balance beam (2005 and 2007). At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, she won five medals (a gold in the all-around; silvers on team, bars and balance beam; and a bronze on floor), matching Miller’s record for most medals won by an American gymnast in a single Olympic Games. Furthermore, she also tied with Miller as the American gymnast with the most World championship medals at nine. She just might overtake Miller’s career medal count if she stays in gymnastics a bit longer.