Just in time for the Olympic Games, Inside Gymnastics Magazine is running a series of profiles on…people who never made an Olympic team.
What an original idea. This is the time of the quadrennium when we remember people like Mary Lou Retton, whose agent probably fields about five phone calls a day from reporters who want her to give a blow-by-blow of her Los Angeles experience.
While Retton’s story is terrific, there are a lot more that aren’t told. Inside’s interview with Jennie Thompson, who might have been a two-time Olympian had things been just a little different, is excellent.
Among other things, we learn:
— Jennie and husband Clint are pregnant with their first child (due at the end of the month)
— Jennie thought about the 1996 Olympic Trials as “just another meet”
— Jennie coaches at Northwest Gymnastics in Spokane, Wash.
Inside: How did your experience during the 96 Olympic year compare to the 2000 Olympic year?
Thompson: Since I was injured for the whole year leading up to the 2000 Olympics it was a lot different for me. Not being able to compete in 2000 at all was hard. In my mind I knew that if I had been healthy enough to compete I would have been on the team for sure, but once again, life doesn’t always go the way we plan.
Inside: Upon retirement, were you content with the way things played out?
Thompson: Retiring was hard, but I knew that it was the right decision. I guess I was content. I had no other choice. I accomplished so many things in my career and just because I didn’t accomplish all of my goals didn’t make all those years worthless. I loved every minute of it and would do it all over again if I could.
Wonder who else they’ll profile. A few names pop to mind, but most have far more bitter, political stories than Thompson: Kim Kelly, Mariana Webster, Allyse Ishino, Kristie Phillips, Vanessa Atler, Kristy Powell, Ashley Postell, Jamie Natalie, Raj Bhavsar, Jay Thornton, Morgan White, Alyssa Beckerman.
Jennie Thompson, 1996 Budget Invitational, Floor Exercise:
Jennie Thompson, 1999 American Cup Finals, Floor Exercise: