Women's History Theme
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Who is this woman?   

The tension was high. The other competitors and the Olympic audience were quiet as the tiny gymnast prepared for her final vault. Everyone knew that the 16-year-old was coming off of a serious knee injury and was trailing the favored Ekaterina Szabo by .05 points. Only a perfect 10 on the vault would give ____ the gold medal. Her years of training and dreaming came down to this one final routine. ____ began her trip down the runway and nailed her vault, earning a perfect 10 and becoming the first American woman to win an individual medal in Olympic gymnastics.

Mary ____ was born on January 24, 1968, in Fairmont, West Virginia. She began studying dance and acrobatics at the age of four and started gymnastics training at five. When she was 15 she moved to Houston, Texas, to study with Bela Karolyi. Karolyi helped her develop a style that focused on her speed, accuracy, and power. She was chosen for the American gymnastics team in the 1984 Summer Olympics.

Six weeks before the Olympics began in Los Angeles she had to have surgery on one of her knees. The doctors told her she would not be able to compete in the Olympics. ____ would not allow her dream to die and told the doctors, "I've made it this far. No one's going to keep me from trying." She completed her rehabilitation work in three weeks and, three weeks later, won not only the individual gold but also led the U.S. women's team to a silver and individual medals in the vault (silver), the uneven parallel bars (bronze), and the floor exercise (bronze).

Mary ____'s Olympic performances, along with her brilliant smile and enthusiasm, made her America's sweetheart. She was named Sports Illustrated Magazine's "Sportswoman of the Year" in 1984. In 1993, almost 10 years after her Olympic feats, an Associated Press national survey named her the "Most Popular Athlete in America."

Sports Illustrated Magazine named her "Sportswoman of the Year".

She was the first woman to appear on the front of a Wheaties cereal box.

When she competed in the Olympics she was four feet, 8.75 inches tall and weighed just 94 pounds.

Her main competitor in the 1984 Olympics was Ekaterina Szabo.

Who is this woman?
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     Mary Mcleod Bethune

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