No longer child's play for control freak Strug

Fri Jul 22, 2016 12:58am EDT
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By Pritha Sarkar

LONDON (Reuters) - As a self-confessed control freak whose gymnastics career was all about regimentation, Kerri Strug cannot quite believe how her life has spiraled out of control over the past four years -- all thanks to her children Tyler and Alayna.

"Because of my athletics background I thought I’d be a really strict mom and that I’d put my children on really tight schedules. But once I had them, it’s not how it’s gone," 1996 Olympic champion Strug told Reuters in a telephone interview.

"I like to be in control. As an athlete you are focused on you and your actions. But my kids don’t necessarily always want to do what I want them to do.

"I don’t discipline them as much as I should. They just have to give me a cute smile or shed a few tears and then usually they get what they want.

"I’m hoping as they get older I get back a little bit more power in the relationship."

"Control" and "discipline" were the two buzzwords that dictated Strug's life for almost two decades.

It was that single minded focus which, despite being in excruciating pain, allowed the American to take a leap of faith at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and ended with her landing a vault on an already damaged ankle.

The fact that three seconds later she had collapsed to her knees, or that she had to be carried back into the arena by her coach Bela Karolyi for the medal ceremony will forever remain as one of the abiding images of the Olympics.   Continued...

Former gymnast Kerri Strug poses at her home in Tucson, Arizona, June 22, 2012. REUTERS/Rob Schumacher