Alicia Sacramone’s gymnastics career spanned over a decade. Her learning stage started when she was eight, and in just seven years she would enter an elite-level competition. Winning 12 medals from 2004 to 2008 in the US National Championships, as well as winning four golds, four silvers, and one bronze in the World Championships adds considerably to her being one of the most decorated gymnasts in the world.
She won the silver medal in the 2008 Olympics and proceeded to qualify for the Visa national championships. Failing to make it to the Olympic team, she left the sport in 2012 with “no regrets.”
Mary Lou Retton
Mary Lou Retton had become such a popular gymnast that her image was used in a 1988 Paraguay stamp. Her prominence was mainly due to her performance during the 1984 Summer Olympics held in Los Angeles, where she became the first American woman ever to win a gold in the individual all-around.
Having achieved such a historical feat, Mary Lou Retton remains one of the most beloved Olympians. Added to her medal tally are two silvers and two bronzes. She was married to the University of Texas quarterback Shannon Kelly, but the couple divorced in Feb. 2018.
Sergey Bubka was in a league of his own when he represented the Soviet Union as a pole vaulter, up until its dissolution in 1991. He was named Athlete of the Year twice, winning a gold medal in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, and he was the IAAF World Champion for six years in a row.
Sergey Bubka was so dominant as a pole vaulter that he mainly trained to practically beat himself each time, crashing his own world records; and he would break pole vault records 35 times. He retired in 2001 and is actively involved in IOC as an honorary member.
Greg Louganis remains the only Olympic diver in history to have swept the diving events in two consecutive Olympic Games. He competed dominantly both in the springboard and the platform in the 1984 and 1988 Summer Olympics, and his excellent performances have prompted him to be called the “greatest American diver,” and arguably the “greatest diver” ever.
Even today, he is still remembered for his head injury in the pool during the Seoul Olympics. Greg Louganis is now an LGBTQ+ activist and serves as a mentor to the US Diving team.
Dorothy Hamill’s father was very supportive of her ambition as a figure skater. She started taking weekly lessons at the age of eight, and would gradually increase her interest in the sport, so much so that her father would spend about $20,000 annually for its concomitant expenses.
Dorothy Hamill became an Olympic gold medal champion in the 1976 Olympics. That same year she also became a world champion, both in the ladies' singles category. Surprisingly, Hamill would retire the same year she had been performing really well. In 2008 she announced that she was being treated for a severe medical condition.