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Kimberly Lynn Zmeskal Burdette (née Zmeskal on February 6, 1976) is an American retired artistic gymnast, who was a national champion, world champion, and an Olympic bronze medalist. She currently coaches gymnastics and co-owns Texas Dreams Gymnastics in Coppell, Texas, with her husband Chris Burdette.

Kim Zmeskal
Kim Zmeskal Burdette 2014.jpg
Zmeskal in Jesolo in March 2014
Personal information
Full nameKimberly Lynn Zmeskal Burdette
Country represented United States
Born (1976-02-06) February 6, 1976 (age 43)
Houston, Texas, U.S.[1][1][2]
Height4 ft 11 in (150 cm)[3]
Weight80 lb (36 kg)[3]
DisciplineWomen's artistic gymnastics
LevelSenior international elite
ClubKarolyi's, CGA
Texas Dreams (coach)
Former coach(es)Béla Károlyi,
Mary Lee Tracy[2]
RetiredJanuary 28, 2000


Early life and trainingEdit

Zmeskal was born in Houston, Texas and is a Catholic. From a young age, Zmeskal trained with coaching great Béla Károlyi, who had bought a run-down gym in Zmeskal's Houston neighborhood. This gave Zmeskal the opportunity to observe and interact with her heroine, Mary Lou Retton.

In 1989, at the age of 13, Zmeskal became the U.S. Junior National Champion.[4] She also took first place in the American Classic, the Swiss Cup Mixed Pairs (with Lance Ringnald), and the Arthur Gander Memorial. Zmeskal went on to become a three-time consecutive U.S. National Champion.[5] In international events, she began a rivalry with the Soviet Union's Svetlana Boginskaya.[6]

Zmeskal graduated from Westfield High School in 1994.[7]

At the 1991 World Championships in Indianapolis, the team silver medal was a first for the Americans, and Zmeskal became the first American to achieve the World all-around gold medal.[8]

1992 Barcelona OlympicsEdit

Having recently become world champion, Americans had high hopes for Zmeskal and the U.S. team heading the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games, with Zmeskal earning the cover of both Time and Newsweek magazines before the Games. In the U.S. National Championships and Olympic Trials, Zmeskal battled an emerging Shannon Miller, with Miller defeating Zmeskal at the Trials.[9]

Zmeskal fell off the balance beam during her compulsory routine on the first night of competition. Although she would rebound with performances on the floor, vault, and bars, Zmeskal was in 32nd place after the compulsories and 5th on the American team.[10] She would further rebound with scores of 9.912 on beam, 9.95 on vault, 9.9 on uneven bars, and a 9.925 on floor during the finals of the team competition, moving Zmeskal into 12th place and into the all-around competition by finishing third among the American women. Her combined score of 39.687 for the night was the highest of any competitor.

Although earning enough points to compete in the all-around competition, Zmeskal would again falter during her first event, the floor exercise, stepping out of bounds. She finished 10th in the all-around final, and later finished 8th in the vault final and 6th in the floor final. It would later be revealed that Zmeskal was suffering from a stress fracture in her ankle before the Olympics began.

Comeback and retirementEdit

Any dreams for a comeback to compete in the 1996 Olympic Games would be dashed due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her right knee suffered during a floor exercise.

In 1998, Zmeskal returned to competition with a decent showing at the U.S. National Championships in Indianapolis. By 1999, she was even considered a possibility for the 2000 Olympics team and represented the U.S. internationally. However, a torn achilles tendon on a double tuck on floor ended her career that year.

That same year, on October 23, she married coach Chris Burdette, whom she had met during a clinic. They wed at Karolyi's Ranch. Zmeskal now spends time with her husband, speaking and coaching, and opened a coaching program in Coppell, Texas entitled Texas Dreams Gymnastics. She has coached multiple US National Team athletes. The Burdettes had their first child, son Robert Ryder, in May 2005. Their second child, son Koda Christopher, was born July 17, 2006. Zmeskal announced in July 2009 via Twitter that she and her husband were expecting their third child, a girl. Riven was born on February 10, 2010 weighing 6 pounds, 14 ounces.

Zmeskal was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in May 2012.[11]

Gymnastic trademarksEdit

Zmeskal was recognized for her middle tumbling pass on floor which consisted of a round-off, three consecutive whip-backs, back-handspring, into a double-back in the tucked position (sometimes with four whips into double-back). Another trademark was the way she would flare her arms out during full-twisting elements, most notably on her full-twisting Yurchenko vault.

Another signature move was the reverse planche with one bent leg, which was her opening move on the balance beam.


  1. ^ a b Kim Zmeskal.
  2. ^ a b Kim Zmeskal.
  3. ^ a b Gutman, Dan (1996). Gymnastics. USA: Penguin. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  4. ^ Litsky, Frank (June 11, 1990). "A Senior Crown at Age 14". New York Times. Retrieved July 29, 2012.
  5. ^ Janofsky, Michael (June 11, 1992). "OLYMPICS; Zmeskal's Rise to Top Can Be Interrupted by a Fall". New York Times. Retrieved July 29, 2012. Her national title in Columbus, Ohio, last month was her third....
  6. ^ Janofsky, Michael (September 15, 1991). "GYMNASTICS; Zmeskal Driven to Overall Success". New York Times. Retrieved July 29, 2012.
  7. ^ Kim Zmeskal Burdette. Facebook. Retrieved on 2017-10-17.
  8. ^ Swift, E.M. (September 23, 1991). "A Wow At The Worlds". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved July 29, 2012.
  9. ^ Janofsky, Michael (June 15, 1992). "OLYMPICS; The Trial Is Not Over For Female Gymnasts". New York Times. Retrieved July 29, 2012.
  10. ^ Janofsky, Michael (July 27, 1992). "BARCELONA: GYMNASTICS; A Stunning Reverse In Zmeskal's Opener". New York Times. Retrieved July 29, 2012.
  11. ^ "Kim Zmeskal makes Gymnastics Hall". May 20, 2012. Retrieved July 29, 2012.

External linksEdit