The 'Magnificent Seven' Team USA Gymnasts of 1996: Where Are They Now?
The American women — Shannon Miller, Dominique Moceanu, Dominique Dawes, Kerri Strug, Amy Chow, Amanda Borden and Jaycie Phelps — brought the drama, and the gold
At the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, seven young women did what no Americans had done before: they won the gold medal in the gymnastics team competition. But they did it in dramatic fashion, ending with Kerri Strug's near-perfect vault on an injured ankle, giving the team the slimmest lead over second-place Russia and securing a place in sports history. In 2008, they were collectively inducted into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame.
Here, see what the former gymnasts — dubbed the "Magnificent Seven" — are up to now.
Then: The youngest member of the 1996 women's Olympic gymnastics team, Moceanu struggled with an injury during the Games but still helped bring the team to the top and their news-making gold medal win. Two years after the Olympics, she became legally emancipated from her parents, though the family later reconicled. Following her career in sports, she graduated from John Carroll University.
Now: Married and a mom of two, Moceanu toured the country in exhibitions for a few years with some of her teammates following the Olympics, retiring in 2005. She's stayed connected to the sport, running a gym in Cleveland (where her son trains!) and speaking in support of the gymnasts who first came out with sexual assault allegations against disgraced team doctor Larry Nassar.
In 2012, she revealed on 20/20 she had a sister she'd never met, which she discovered after receiving a package with a letter and photos of a woman named Jennifer Bricker who looked like her younger sister Christina. She confronted her parents, who told her the baby was born the day after her 6th birthday, but didn't have legs and would require expensive medical care the family couldn't afford. They placed her for adoption, but she later found her birth family through a clerical error — and eventually reached out, forming a relationship with her big sisters. And as it turns out, she has some gymnastic skills, too!
Then: Miller had five Olympic medals going into the Atlanta games — she earned them in Barcelona in 1992 — and won two gold in 1996 (balance beam, in addition to team), making her the most decorated female Olympics gymnast from the United States. She began training at age 5, competing internationally for years before retiring in 2000. She later attended the University of Houston, followed by Boston College Law School.
Now: Married with two children, Miller was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2010 but following surgery and chemotherapy, was delcared cancer-free. A professional speaker, she now encourages women to learn the signs and advocate to their doctors when they aren't feeling well.
Then: "Awesome Dawesome" competed with Miller in 1992 before also making the 1996 team (and later, the 2000 team). According to her Olympic bio, she was the first African-American gymnast to win an individual event medal, with her 1992 bronze on floor, and in 1996, became the first Black woman to win gold in gymnastics. Dawes also won bronze in '96 for floor exercise and again in '00 for team. She went on to graduate from the University of Maryland and briefly pursued acting (she appeared on Broadway in Grease!).
Now: Married with four children, Dawes recently opened the Dominique Dawes Gymnastics Academy in Maryland. "What motivated me ... was evrything that came out in the sport of gymnastics, the dark cloud that was truly revealed in 2016 when the Larry Nassar scandal became center stage," she told Washington Family in 2020. "There are too many amazing women that have so many gifts."
Then: Strug literally vaulted into the spotlight, helping clinch Team USA's gold medal with her successful vault on an injured ankle. Like some of her teammates, she competed in Barcelona 1992 as well, but left the sport to attend UCLA and later Stanford University.
Now: A former elementary school teacher who has since ascended the ladder in a series of government jobs, Strug is a married mother of two. In 2015, she told PEOPLE she remains close to teammate Dominique Moceanu, but hasn't practiced gymnastics in decades. As she joked, "I like to keep my feet on the ground!"
Then: Chow was the first Asian-American gymnast to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team in gymnastics. Though she didn't garner as much media attention as her teammates, her work at both the 1996 and 2000 Games was notable for its degree of difficulty — she scored silver on the uneven bars in '96. "I didn't want to go and do easy skills and meet the minimum to get the 10.0 start value," she told TeamUSA.org in 2020. "For me it was a challenge and it was, I guess, motivation."
Now: A Stanford University graduate, she's a surgeon based in Northern California and a married mother of two.
Then: The team captain had a strong performance at her only Olympics, competing on the balance beam and in floor exercise. She went on to graduate from Arizona State University.
Then: Phelps also gave a strong performance in Atlanta, competing on the vault, uneven bars, balance beam and in floor exercise.
Now: Married with a daughter, she runs the Jaycie Phelps Athletic Center in Indiana.