Shergymrag pointed out in a comment that 2008 U.S. Junior champ Jordyn Wieber’s coach John Geddert also coached Olympic hopeful Katie Teft during the runup to the 1996 Games.
Teft’s breakthrough year really happened in 1995, when she (and to a greater extent a 13-year-old named Dominique Moceanu) made a splash at the Visa Invitational.
Teft had exceptional difficulty and extraordinary presentation for a 14-year-old. Check out this balance beam routine at the 1995 Olympic Test Event in the Georgia Dome. With her tumbling mount, dismount and flight series, this routine may have been more difficult than any member of the Mag 7’s beamwork in Atlanta.
Katie Teft, 1995 Olympic Test Event, Balance Beam:
Teft missed making the Olympic team by a pretty small margin. So what happened next? According to Gymnastics Greats…
Katie pressed on with elite gymnastics, but in 1997 injuries caught up with her. Injuries were nothing knew to Katie. Prior to turning elite, she broke her ankles three separate times, and was later diagnosed with a calcium deficiency. In 1995, Katie suffered a herniated disc, and she reinjured the disc in 1997 on a fall from bars (ironically, bars is her best and favorite event). Due to her back injury, Katie took some time off the sport, returned to high school at Forest Hills Central High School, and began diving (a sport which did not aggravate her back injury like gymnastics).
Later in 1997, with her back injuries healed, Katie competed as a high school gymnast and won the Michigan state AA title, as well as the UB and BB titles. She recently returned to club competition, competing as a level ten at the Twistars Invitational. Katie has no intentions of returning to international elite gymnastics. Instead, she is setting her sights on college gymnastics, a more realistic goal due to her past back injuries.
Katie enrolled at the University of Massachusetts on a gymnastics scholarships in the fall of 1999. She competed for the U of M for three years, until they dropped their women’s program. She then transferred to the University of Central Michigan for her senior year. Competing for CMU, she qualified to the NCAA Championships as an individual qualifier on bars.
Too bad things didn’t work out for Teft as an elite. She was someone the U.S. desperately needed during those painful 1996-2000 years.
And if Geddert can create an athlete like that, Wieber’s in very good hands.