Shannon Miller, the most decorated gymnast in U.S. history, talked about her career, her Olympic medals and much more in a live chat Friday.
Shannon Miller, the most decorated gymnast in U.S. history, talked about her career, her Olympic medals and much more in a live chat Friday with readers.
Q: Was there a particular gymnast who inspired you?
Miller: My sister, Tessa, who got me started in gymnastics. When she stopped, it was the older gymnasts in my home gym in Oklahoma, and as I began to compete internationally, Svetlana Boguinskaia. She was beautiful to watch and able to compete at three Olympics.
Q: Did you have a lot of coaches during your career? How important is the relationship between gymnast and coach?
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Miller: The relationship between a gymnast and a coach is critical to success. You have to be a team. I had the same coach, Steve Nunno, from the age of 8 through my entire Olympic career. That connection is so important to safety and success.
Q: How do you feel about the current code of points? Do you think it places too much emphasis on difficulty and not enough on artistry?
Miller: Not a big fan of the current code of points. I hope that we get back to more artistry in the sport so that there’s a better balance between the beauty of gymnastics and the difficulty of the skills.
Q: Was there any move that really terrified you to do?
Miller: Yes. There were a couple. The biggest one was a full-twisting back handspring on balance beam. I never quite got it. Other than that, anything on vault. It’s my nemesis.
Q: You had a bit of a cancer scare about a year ago, and went through some treatment, right? Are you OK now?
Miller: I’m happy to say I’m now cancer free! Last year, I was diagnosed with malignant germ-cell tumor, a form of ovarian cancer. It was caught very early, and after surgery and chemotherapy, I’m doing great. I want to tell everyone to please get your exams and screenings. Early detection saves lives!
Q: Who should we look out for in gymnastics at the 2012 Olympics?
Miller: The countries to watch are Russia, China and Romania, and of course the U.S. Individual athletes have not been chosen for the London Games, but some big names to watch for would be Nastia Liukin, Shawn Johnson, Bridget Sloan and Jordyn Wieber, if they make the team.
Q: Where do you keep your medals, and how often do you take them out to look at them?
Miller: I keep my medals in a safe-deposit box, but I take them out pretty often to the events I attend, especially those where kids can enjoy looking at them. I feel bad for the silver and bronze medals, because no one wants to see those. So I’m thinking of creating a rotation for them.
Q: Do you ever wear your medals around on everyday activities, like going to the store? You know, just to remind everyone that you’re a boss.
Miller: Rocco, my son, wears my gold medal around the house. He gives me the silver. I guess I know who’s boss in our house.