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1996 Atlanta Olympics

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  • The US women’s gymnastics team won its first gold medal. Shannon Miller of the United States won the gold medal on the balance beam event, the first time an American gymnast had won an individual gold medal in a non-boycotted Olympic games.

  • Michael Johnson is the only male athlete in history to win both the 200 meter dash and 400 meterdash events at the same Olympics, a feat he accomplished at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Johnson is also the only man to successfully defend his Olympic title in the 400 m. Aside from his Olympic success Johnson accumulated eight gold medals at World Championships, and is thus tied with Carl Lewis for the second most gold medals won by a runner (second only to Usain Bolt).

  • Dominique Moceanu was expected to be a major medal threat at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. However, following the 1996 U.S. Nationals, where she placed third in the all-around, she was diagnosed with a stress fracture in her right tibia.Her  injury forced her to sit out the Olympic Trials, and she was petitioned onto the team on the strength of her Nationals scores.

    At the Olympics, still struggling with her injury and sporting a heavily bandaged leg, Moceanu contributed to the team gold medal by turning in strong performances, good enough to qualify her for the event finals on balance beam and floor exercise. However, she faltered in the last rotation of team optionals, falling on both vaults and forcing the U.S. chances of a gold medal to rest solely on teammate Kerri Strug’s final vault. With Strug injuring herself in the successful attempt, Moceanu took her place in the all-around finals. Unfortunately, mistakes cost Moceanu a medal there, and she placed ninth. In the balance beam event final, Moceanu fell when she missed a foot on a layout and crashed into the balance beam on her head. She finished the exercise and went on to a strong performance in the floor finals later that day, finishing fourth and just missing a medal.

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