Shannon Love

3 Aug

During the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, I was seven years old. Very impressionable and perhaps fresh out of a gymnastics class at the community center. I remember watching the Olympics, specifically the women’s gymnastics with my mom. The next morning, she would show me the pictures in the paper.

I loved all of the Magnificent Seven.  I had probably never seen anything like it (definitely not in gym of Whitecliff Community Center where I honed my own skills). Needless to say, that year the team brought home the gold medal. Do you remember Kerri Strug’s vault? Oh I do. I get chills watching that video.

I bought a little book about them from the book order thing at school, so I knew all of their favorite colors and foods. I also was the proud owner of Olympic Gymnast Barbie (as well as gymnast Stacie).

Shannon Miller was totally my favorite. First off, she probably looked the most like me of all the teammates. I’m not sure why that mattered to sever year old me, but it totally did. Also, her name was Shannon. As a child I didn’t know too many Shannons (I know more now, but not as many as Emilys, Megans, Sarahs, Kristins or Jessicas). Because we shared the same name, clearly, we were soul sisters. Or so I thought.

She was instrumental in the team all-around gold as well as earning a gold on the beam herself. Beam is my favorite event, probably because of her. She also won some serious medals in Barcelona, but I was too young to be a fan.

Naturally, this week I decided to do a little google query on my homegirl Shannon. I discovered her twitter, her website and her free ebook. It was like Christmas day! Did you know that she is a cancer survivor? I had no clue.

Her website and books focus on women’s health and fitness, confirming that we are indeed soul sisters. In case you want to watch her gold medal balance beam routine…

Watching Gabby Douglas win gold last night made me so happy. First, she’s an incredible athlete. Second, tons of little girls, like me of yesteryear, hopefully felt that same magic I did in ’96. And I hope those kids perfect their cartwheels and splits like I did. Even if you don’t go to the Olympics, they make great party tricks in college.

Get it Gaby!


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