Breaking News
More () »

Fans see Kerri Strug's iconic 1996 Olympic moment in new light after Simone Biles' exit

One father said he doesn't feel as inspired watching Kerri Strug's 1996 one-leg vault in Atlanta after Simone Biles announced her 2020 Tokyo Olympics exit

TOKYO, Japan — It's an iconic Olympic moment that is now back in the spotlight over two decades later — when two-time Olympic gymnast Kerri Strug competed in Atlanta for the 1996 Olympic Games

The then 18-year-old collapsed during a vault, injuring her ankle.

Her face visibly grimacing in pain as she stunned spectators and reemerged from the mat, managing to stick the landing after a second vault to help lock in a gold medal for the American team.

Many fans online are saying they now see Strug's 1996 vault event in a different light following Simone Biles' decision to take a bow and withdraw from the competition at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday.

RELATED: Olympic champion Simone Biles withdraws from gymnastics final to protect team, self

Credit: AP
FILE - In this July 23, 1996, file photo, U.S. gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi carries injured Kerri Strug following the awarding ceremony at the women's team gymnastics competition at the Centennial Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. The U.S. won the gold. At left is Dominique Moceanu. (AP Photo/Susan Ragan, File)

Biles said she made the announcement to protect her mind and body, rather than "just go out there and do what the world wants."

An Idaho father wrote a Facebook post commending Biles' decision to step down, saying the Olympic moment has made her an "even better example to our daughters."

"Our athletes shouldn't have to destroy themselves to meet our standards. If giving empathetic, authentic support to our Olympians means we'll earn less gold medals, I'm happy to make that trade," Byron Heath wrote in the post.

Heath said he once was excited watching Strug's famous one-leg vault, but on Tuesday he wasn't as inspired after re-watching the gymnastics champion along with his daughters as she landed her second vault and crumbled in tears and agony.

"'Why did she jump again if she was hurt?' One of my girls asked. I made some inane reply about the heart of a champion or Olympic spirit, but in the back of my mind a thought was festering: She shouldn't have jumped again," Heath wrote.

He said he hopes to send a message to Biles amid her decision to step back.

"You are an outstanding athlete, a true role model, and a powerful woman. Nothing will change that. Please don't sacrifice your emotional or physical well-being for our entertainment or national pride. We are proud of you for being brave enough to compete, and proud of you for having the wisdom to know when to step back," Heath said.

The post has went since went viral, getting shared upward 158,000 times and receiving thousands more comments and likes. 

Strug herself sent out a tweet supporting Biles just hours after the news that shocked the country broke. 

"Sending love to you," Strug said. 

She continued in another tweet to congratulate Team USA gymnastics, saying she has "great respect" for their "hard work and support for each other." 

That vault would be Strug's final one. She ended her career after sustaining the injury. Although Biles, considered to be the greatest of all time in her sport, is getting some criticism for her decision, plenty of people on social media say pushing through the physical or emotional pain wasn't worth it for Strug and it isn't worth it for Biles either.

Before You Leave, Check This Out