One time my dad came home with this awesome magazine for me:
which I later cut up to use on a gymnastics-themed mobile for a school project.
Kristie Phillips is probably the only gymnast ever to appear on Sports Illustrated in a non-Olympic issue. I was a superfan!
In what's probably her first television appearance at only 12 years old, she already has a really creative, unique routine. (Creativity--remember that?) Notable in the commentary is that a) at first they think she's falling on her signature mount, and b) when you don't know anything about gymnastics but are serving as a commentator, all you can think to remark on is the size of a girl's feet.
Here she is at her best:
Unfortunately, gymnastics being gymnastics--pressure, hype, growth spurts, injuries, bad days-- she just missed making the 1988 Olympic team.
But what's great about Kristie Phillips is that she didn't let that disappointment define her gymnastics legacy or the rest of her life. After checking college cheerleading and stunt work off her list, and starring in a completely fabulous straight-to-video low budget action flick which I will someday sit down and watch in its entirety, she reappeared in 1999 at age 27 with enough difficulty to compete at Nationals.
These days she owns a gym, and while I'm busting my butt just trying to kip (and granted, she's a child prodigy and I'm just a regular gal), she can do this at 39:
Jordan Jovtchev, Oksana Chusovitina, and Kristie Phillips too-- proof positive that, given the right conditions--encouraging event specialists, competing teams of 6 or 7 instead of 4 or 5-- gymnasts could absolutely extend their elite careers well into adulthood. And maybe even us regular gals could still have a little fun in the gym, three kids later, at thirtysomething years old. All for the love of the sport.