Shannon Lee Miller (born March 10, 1977) is an American former artistic gymnast. She was the 1993 and 1994 world all-around champion, the 1992 Summer Olympics all-around silver medallist, the 1996 Olympic balance beam champion, the 1995 Pan American Games all-around champion, and a member of the gold medal-winning Magnificent Seven team at the 1996 Olympics.

Shannon Miller
Miller at the Art of the Olympians in Fort Myers, Florida in July 2015
Personal information
Full nameShannon Lee Miller
Country represented United States
Born (1977-03-10) March 10, 1977 (age 47)
Rolla, Missouri, U.S.
HometownEdmond, Oklahoma, U.S.
Height5 ft (152 cm)
DisciplineWomen's artistic gymnastics
LevelSenior international elite
Years on national team1989–1997 (USA)
Former coach(es)Steve Nunno, Peggy Liddick
RetiredAugust 20, 2000
Medal record
International gymnastics competitions
Event 1st 2nd 3rd
Olympic Games 2 2 3
World Championships 5 3 1
Goodwill Games 2 3 0
Pan American Games 4 1 0
Total 13 9 4
Event 1st 2nd 3rd
All-Around (OG/WC) 3 3 2
Uneven Bars (OG/WC) 1 1 1
Balance Beam (OG/WC) 2 1 0
Vault (OG/WC) 0 0 0
Floor Exercise (OG/WC) 1 0 1
Total 7 5 4
Women's artistic gymnastics
Representing  United States
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 1996 Atlanta Team
Gold medal – first place 1996 Atlanta Balance Beam
Silver medal – second place 1992 Barcelona All Around
Silver medal – second place 1992 Barcelona Balance Beam
Bronze medal – third place 1992 Barcelona Team
Bronze medal – third place 1992 Barcelona Uneven Bars
Bronze medal – third place 1992 Barcelona Floor Exercise
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 1993 Birmingham All Around
Gold medal – first place 1993 Birmingham Uneven Bars
Gold medal – first place 1993 Birmingham Floor Exercise
Gold medal – first place 1994 Brisbane All Around
Gold medal – first place 1994 Brisbane Balance Beam
Silver medal – second place 1991 Indianapolis Team
Silver medal – second place 1991 Indianapolis Uneven Bars
Silver medal – second place 1994 Dortmund Team
Bronze medal – third place 1995 Sabae Team
Goodwill Games
Gold medal – first place 1994 St Petersburg Balance Beam
Gold medal – first place 1994 St Petersburg Floor Exercise
Silver medal – second place 1994 St Petersburg All-Around
Silver medal – second place 1994 St Petersburg Vault
Silver medal – second place 1994 St Petersburg Uneven Bars
Pan American Games
Gold medal – first place 1995 Mar del Plata Team
Gold medal – first place 1995 Mar del Plata All Around
Gold medal – first place 1995 Mar del Plata Uneven Bars
Gold medal – first place 1995 Mar del Plata Floor Exercise
Silver medal – second place 1995 Mar del Plata Vault

Along with Simone Biles, Miller is the most decorated U.S. gymnast in Olympics history, with a total of seven medals. With a combined total of 16 World Championships and Olympic medals between 1991 and 1996, she is the second-most decorated American gymnast, male or female, after Biles. She was also the most successful American athlete at the 1992 Olympics, winning five medals.[1]

Early life edit

Miller was born in Rolla, Missouri, but she and her family moved to Edmond, Oklahoma, when she was six months old. She began gymnastics when she was five and travelled to Moscow with her mother at the age of nine to participate in a gymnastics camp.

As a teenager, Miller attended Edmond North High School, working with a flexible program that accommodated her training, travel and competition schedule.[2]

Miller's mother was a bank vice president, and her father was a professor at the University of Central Oklahoma.[3]

Gymnastics career edit

1989–1991 edit

For most of her career, Miller was coached by Steve Nunno and Peggy Liddick, who went on to become the national coach of the Australian women's gymnastics team.[4]

As a 12-year-old, she finished third at the 1989 Olympic Festival, a competition designed to showcase up-and-coming talent.

She travelled to Europe in 1990 and 1991 for international meets and scored perfect 10s on the balance beam at the Swiss Cup and the Arthur Gander Memorial. At the 1991 Gander Memorial, she won the all-around with the highest total score ever recorded by an American woman under the traditional 10.0 scale: a 39.875. (Kim Zmeskal earned the same total at the 1990 USA vs. USSR Challenge.)

At her first World Championships in 1991 in Indianapolis, Miller won two silver medals: one on the uneven bars (where she tied with Soviet gymnast Tatiana Gutsu) and one in the team competition.[5] She placed second to Soviet Svetlana Boginskaya during the compulsory portion of the competition.

1992 edit

Due to injury, Miller missed the 1992 World Championships in Paris. Not quite back up to speed with her more difficult skills, she pulled out of the optionals competition at the National Championships and petitioned to the Olympic Trials. Although the result was controversial,[6] Miller won the Trials over her rival, Zmeskal, who was the 1991 world champion.

Miller won the compulsory portion of the 1992 Olympic Games and scored the highest of any gymnast in the overall team competition, securing the bronze medal for the US women's team and advancing to the all-around final as the top-ranked gymnast in the world. In the all-around final, she missed out on the gold by the closest margin in Olympic history, finishing 0.012 points behind Gutsu. Her coach, Steve Nunno, claimed she was robbed of the gold medal by unfair judging.[7]

In event finals, she captured three more individual medals: a silver on balance beam and bronzes on uneven bars and floor exercise. Her haul of five Olympic medals was more than that of any other American athlete in Barcelona. She was one of only two female gymnasts, along with Lavinia Miloşovici of Romania, to compete in every event final at the Games, and she alone performed all sixteen of her routines without serious error. Thirteen of her routines scored a 9.9 or higher, with her lowest score being a 9.837 in the vault final.[8]

With her two silver and three bronze medals at the 1992 Summer Olympics, Miller holds the record for most medals won at a single Olympic Games without winning gold.

1993 edit

At the 1993 World Championships in Birmingham, Miller won every event in preliminaries, and television commentator Kathy Johnson, a 1984 Olympian, remarked that she had not seen a gymnast so dominant since Nadia Comăneci in 1976. Bart Conner agreed, stating that Miller could only be beaten if she faltered. Following the break-up of the Soviet Union, its sports system had undergone upheaval, and most former Soviet gymnasts were not ready to mount a sustained challenge in 1993. Miller, on the other hand, had reworked her routines to comply better with the new Code of Points. She won the all-around title, followed by gold medals on bars and floor. However, she fell three times in the beam final and withdrew from the vault final due to illness.

1994 edit

At the 1994 World Championships in Brisbane, Miller again took the all-around title, beating Miloşovici and becoming the first American gymnast to win back-to-back world all-around titles. She also won the beam title, which had eluded her the previous year, with a near-perfect exercise.

Her winning streak ended in late 1994 at the Goodwill Games, where Dina Kochetkova of Russia, who had finished in third place at the World Championships, defeated her by a narrow margin, 39.325 to 39.268.[9] Miller rebounded by earning gold medals on beam and floor and silver medals on vault and bars. She missed out on medals in the team competition and the mixed team competition, both of which saw fourth-place finishes for the United States.

Two weeks later, Miller competed at the 1994 National Championships, where she won five silver medals, placing second to Dominique Dawes each time.[10]

1995 edit

Although she won the 1995 American Classic, Miller lost the 1995 National Championships to 13-year-old Dominique Moceanu. At the 1995 World Championships in Sabae, Japan, she amassed the highest total score of the American team but walked away without an individual medal. She placed seventh on the uneven bars and fourth on the balance beam, and had to withdraw from the vault and floor finals due to injury.[11]

1996 edit

Although struggling with severe tendinitis in her left wrist and a pulled hamstring, Miller won the 1996 National Championships. Once again, though, she was forced to sit out the World Championships in the Olympic year due to injury, and later the Olympic Trials. She was able to petition onto the American team as the top performer at Nationals, and the injury was sufficiently recovered by July to allow her to compete in her second Olympics.

Miller led the American team, dubbed the Magnificent Seven, to the gold medal, edging the Russian team. Kerri Strug garnered the majority of the media attention after landing her second vault on an injured foot, which forced her to withdraw from the all-around and event finals. But Miller, who was the team's highest scorer, placed second after the team competition behind Lilia Podkopayeva, qualifying her for her second Olympic all-around final.[12]

In the all-around, Miller was ranked second halfway through the competition. In the end, she placed eighth, but she was the highest-ranking American in the competition. She also became the first American to win the balance beam final at the Olympics, as well as the first American woman to win an individual gold medal in a fully attended Olympics. She concluded her career with seven Olympic medals.

1997–2000 edit

Following the Olympics, Miller and her teammates participated in a 100-city tour and several exhibitions. She competed in her final international meet in 1997, when she won the all-around title at the World University Games.

In 2000, Miller made a brief comeback attempt for the Sydney Olympics. She competed in the Olympic Trials, but after a fall on vault, she decided to withdraw from the competition despite being cleared by a doctor to continue.[13]

Honors edit

Miller is a member of the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame, the United States Olympic Hall of Fame the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame, and the Women's International Sports Hall of Fame. She is the only woman, in any sport, to be inducted into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame twice, as an individual and for her team.

With seven Olympic and nine World Championship medals, Miller is one of the most decorated American gymnasts, male or female. She is tied with Nastia Liukin for third most World Championship medals (9) won by an American gymnast, behind Simone Biles (25) and Alicia Sacramone (10).

In 1998, the Oklahoma Legislature named a section of Interstate 35 in Edmond, Oklahoma the Shannon Miller Parkway in her honor.[14]

Post-gymnastics career edit

Miller in 2014

In 2003, Miller graduated from the University of Houston with a B.B.A. in marketing and entrepreneurship.[15] She entered Boston College Law School[16] later that year and graduated in 2007. Afterward, however, she opted not to take the bar exam. She moved to Florida, where she made appearances at gyms, conducted beam clinics, and starred in workout DVDs.

On October 21, 2015, Miller entered a business partnership with Juice Plus for a branded line of dietary supplements.[17] Also in 2015, her autobiography, It's Not About Perfect: Competing for My Country and Fighting for My Life, was published in 2015 by St. Martin's Press.

She is currently the president of Shannon Miller Lifestyle and the Shannon Miller Foundation, which is dedicated to fighting childhood obesity.

Personal life edit

Miller married lawyer and ophthalmologist Christopher B. Phillips in June 1999. The couple separated in 2004, and their divorce was finalized in 2006. While Phillips accused Miller of infidelity with a married male athlete, Miller denied the claim, and it did not figure into the divorce grounds.[18][19]

In August 2007, Miller announced her engagement to John Falconetti, the president of Drummond Press and former chairman of the Republican executive committee of Duval County, Florida.[20] They married on August 25, 2008, and have two children: a son, John Rocco, born on October 28, 2009,[21] and a daughter, Sterling Diane, born on June 25, 2013.[22][23]

In February 2011, Miller revealed that she had been diagnosed with germ cell ovarian cancer, a month after doctors removed a baseball-sized cyst from one of her ovaries. She underwent three cycles of chemotherapy from March 7 to May 2, 2011.[24] In September 2011, her doctor gave her a clean bill of health.[25]

Competitive history edit

Year Event Team AA VT UB BB FX
1988 U.S. Classic (junior)  
1989 U.S. Classic (junior)  
U.S. Olympic Festival  
1990 American Classic  
U.S. Classic  
Swiss Cup Zürich  
1991 U.S. Classic  
U.S. National Championships 7    
American Cup  
Arthur Gander Memorial  
DTB Cup  
Swiss Cup  
Indianapolis World Championships   6 6   6 4
1992 American Cup        
International Mixed Pairs  
Olympic Trials  
Barcelona Olympic Games     6      
1993 U.S. National Championships          
American Cup        
Birmingham World Championships     8  
1994 U.S. National Championships          
Brisbane World Championships   7   4
Dortmund Team World Championships  
1995 American Classic  
Mar del Plata Pan American Games          
U.S. National Championships[26]      
Sabae World Championships   12 7 4
1996 U.S. National Championships  
Atlanta Olympic Games   8 8  
1997 International Mixed Pairs  
Sicily Summer Universiade     4
2000 Olympic Trials 13

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Olympedia – Shannon Miller". Olympedia. Retrieved 30 December 2022.
  2. ^ Longman, Jere. "GYMNASTICS: A Gymnast's Toughest Balancing Act; Shannon Miller Juggles School, Social Life and Sports With a New, Mature Assurance", The New York Times, December 16, 1994. Accessed December 13, 2007. "She has insisted on remaining in public school, and administrators at Edmond North High School have accommodated her with a flexible schedule."
  3. ^ Gutman, Dan (1996). Gymnastics. Puffin Books. p. 118.
  4. ^ "The Leading Source of Gymnastics News".
  5. ^ Results Archived 2022-09-22 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Glauber, Bill (1992-06-14). "Miller edges Zmeskal for title amid controversy World champ wins here, loses overall". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2017-03-31.
  7. ^ "Gutsu Goes All-Around to Beat Miller : Gymnastics: CIS uses her as injury replacement. Coach says Miller was robbed of victory. Zmeskal slips to 10th". Los Angeles Times. July 31, 1992.
  8. ^ 1992 olympic results [dead link]
  9. ^ "Tiny Kochetkova stands tall".
  10. ^ Results Archived 2022-09-22 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Results 1995 [dead link]
  12. ^ Results [dead link]
  13. ^ Roberts, Selena (August 21, 2000). "OLYMPICS: THE ROAD TO SYDNEY; Miller Out, But Dawes And Chow Make Team". The New York Times.
  14. ^ Oklahoma Department of Transportation. "Oklahoma's Commemorative Highways & Bridges, 1933–2015" (PDF). Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  15. ^ "Bio". Shannon Miller official website. Retrieved 2006-12-25.
  16. ^ "IG Online Interview: Shannon Miller (USA)". International Gymnast. August 2003. Retrieved 2006-12-25.
  17. ^ "Juice Plus and Shannon Miller Announcement". Archived from the original on 2016-08-09. Retrieved 2016-07-14.
  18. ^ "Olympian Shannon Miller Divorces Husband" Stephen Silverman, People, July 10, 2006
  19. ^ "Olympic gymnast's 7-year marriage ends in divorce" Nolan Clay, The Oklahoman, July 9, 2006
  20. ^ "Olympic Gold Medalist Shannon Miller to Marry Duval County GOP Chair"[permanent dead link] Gary Delman, Associated Press, August 23, 2007
  21. ^ "Shannon Miller Welcomes Son John Rocco". Archived from the original on 2016-08-04. Retrieved 2017-03-31.
  22. ^ "OLYMPIC CHAMPION PREGNANT AFTER OVARIAN CANCER". AP. Archived from the original on 17 January 2013. Retrieved 14 January 2013.
  23. ^ Whiteside, Kelly (20 May 2013). "After battling cancer, Shannon Miller expecting baby". USA Today. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
  24. ^ My Journey, Shannon Miller Lifestyle Archived August 27, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ "Shannon Miller: I Didn't Want My Cancer to Scare My Son" Jeffrey Slonim and Rennie Dyball, People, September 23, 2011
  26. ^ Results [dead link]

External links edit