1988 U.S. Women’s Olympic Team to be recognized at Visa Championships in Boston
posted on 06/04/2008
The 1988 Women's Olympic Team

BOSTON, Mass., June 4, 2008 – To mark the 20th anniversary of the Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea, the entire 1988 U.S. Women’s Olympic Team will be recognized at the Visa Championships in Boston and some members of the team will sign autographs on the concourse on June 7. The Visa Championships, USA Gymnastics’ national championships, runs from June 5-7 at Agganis Arena at Boston University and features junior and senior elite women’s gymnastics.

Members of the 1988 U.S. Women’s Olympic Team will sign autographs for one hour on June 7 beginning at 2:30 p.m., just prior to the start of the senior women’s session. The members of the team include: Kelly Garrison Funderburk, Brandy Johnson, Melissa Marlowe, Phoebe Mills, Hope Spivey, Chelle Stack, and alternates Rhonda Faehn and Kristie Phillips-Bannister. The women’s team finished fourth, and Mills was the bronze medalist on the balance beam.

In addition to the autograph signing, other great fan opportunities available at Agganis Arena on the concourse during the event include:

  • Tyson Fitness Challenge Zone. Kids can have fun and gain knowledge on the importance of fitness through the interactive Tyson Fitness Challenge Zone. The course features activity in building strength, flexibility, cardiovascular exercise and good nutrition. The Tyson Fitness Challenge Zone will open an hour prior to the senior women’s competition on June 5 and 7.
  • AT&T Experience. Fans can enjoy several interactive entertainment activities, including checking out AT&T’s blueroom on the Internet and getting their photo taken in front of a gymnastics-themed green screen, as well as learn about AT&T products and services. AT&T will unveil its new Olympic-themed paint scheme for Richard Childress Racing’s No. 31 AT&T Chevrolet driven by NASCAR Cup Series veteran Jeff Burton. The car will be on display throughout the event beginning with the senior women’s session on June 5.
  • CoverGirl Beauty Lounge. Fans can receive personalized make-up tips and free samples at the CoverGirl Beauty Lounge, which will be open throughout the event.
  • In-house radio show. 2004 Olympic team silver-medalist Brett McClure will provide commentary on the senior women’s competition at the Visa Championships on WGYM, USA Gymnastics’ radio show that is available in the arena. Receivers for the radio program are sold along with an event program onsite.

About the Visa Championships
2007 all-around and floor exercise world champion Shawn Johnson of West Des Moines, Iowa, and 2007 balance beam world champion Nastia Liukin of Parker, Texas, and their teammates on the gold-medal-winning 2007 World Championships Team highlight the strong 53-woman field (29 juniors and 24 seniors).

Single-session ticket prices range from $25-120 and may be purchased charge by phone at 617-931-2000; online at www.ticketmaster.com; at all Ticketmaster outlets; or at the Agganis Arena Ticket Office. Visa is the only card accepted for the 2008 Visa Championships.

In addition to Johnson and Liukin, the other members of the 2007 World Championships Team that claimed the team gold medal are: Ivana Hong of Blue Springs, Mo.; Samantha Peszek of Indianapolis, Ind.; Alicia Sacramone of Winchester, Mass.; Bridget Sloan of Pittsboro, Ind.; and Shayla Worley of Orlando, Fla.

Also in the field are 2005 all-around world champion Chellsie Memmel of West Allis, Wis., and 2006 all-around world silver-medalist Jana Bieger of Coconut Creek, Fla., along with Ashley Priess of Hamilton, Ohio, all three of whom were on the team that won the silver medal at the 2006 World Championships.

The schedule for the Visa Championships is: Thursday, June 5 — first day of competition, juniors at 1 p.m. and seniors at 7 p.m.; and Saturday, June 7 — final day of competition, juniors at 10:30 a.m. and seniors at 3:30 p.m.

In 2007, Johnson joined an impressive list of gymnasts who have earned the coveted title of U.S. all-around champion. The roster of former all-around champions is a veritable who’s who in gymnastics, including Carly Patterson, Courtney Kupets, Shannon Miller, Dominique Dawes, Kim Zmeskal and Mary Lou Retton.

The Visa Championships traces its history back to 1931 for the women. For complete coverage of the 2008 Visa Championships, click here.

About Agganis Arena at Boston University
Opened in January 2005, Agganis Arena at Boston University is the next generation in Boston sports and entertainment. It is a state-of-the-art, multipurpose sports and entertainment center. A 290,000-square-foot premier venue with 6,300 seats for hockey and ice shows, the Arena is expandable to over 7,200 seats for concerts, sporting events, and family shows. In addition to exciting Boston University hockey action, Agganis Arena hosts Boston University events, concerts, family shows, sporting events, trade shows and conferences throughout the year.

About the Massachusetts Sports Partnership
The Massachusetts Sports Partnership (MSP) serves as the official sports commission for the Commonwealth. Founded in 1992, MSP is a private, not-for-profit organization which works to attract and support world class sporting events and meetings throughout the Massachusetts.

About USA Gymnastics
Based in Indianapolis, USA Gymnastics is the national governing body for gymnastics in the United States. Its mission is to encourage participation and the pursuit of excellence in the sport. Its disciplines include men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline and tumbling, and acrobatic gymnastics.


The Women’s Olympic Gymnastics Team is celebrating its 20th anniversary of competing in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea. This group of women placed fourth and narrowly missed a bronze team medal. The team includes Kelly Garrison, Brandy Johnson, Melissa Marlowe, Phoebe Mills, Hope Spivey, Chelle Stack, and alternate Rhonda Faehn. Kristie Phillips was the second (non-traveling) alternate. Members of the team will gather in Boston in conjunction with the 2008 Visa Championships. This celebration will mark the first time in 20 years that the 1988 team will be reunited.

We asked the members of the team a few questions and here are their answers!


Kelly Garrison Funderburk

Q: How does it feel to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the 1988 Olympic Games?
Kelly: Hard to believe it has been 20 years.

Q: What is your most vivid memory from these Games?
Kelly: After the competition, and getting fourth place because of the judging and board removal controversy. I was crying in the arena knowing that it would be my last Olympics and I saw my parents peering over the railing and my only thought was that Mom was right after all; she used to ALWAYS tell me "trying your best is all that mattered" and I used to say “No, winning is what matters to me, Mom. I learned real quick that LIFE ISN'T ALWAYS FAIR.

Q: How did being an Olympian impact your life?
Kelly: It opened up more opportunities for me.

Q: Where do you currently reside and what are you currently doing?
Kelly: I live in Edmond, Oklahoma (Oklahoma City area) and I am a stay-at-home Mother and Wife.

Q: Give us a brief update on what you’ve been doing the last 20 years … i.e. family, work, hobbies, etc.
Kelly: I am married and have two children Ryan who is 2 years old and Olivia who is six months old. For 15 years I worked as a motivational speaker for a program that I developed. It primarily focused on drug awareness/self esteem for youth. I also worked at many gymnastics camps and taught clinics for the same time period and I was a choreographer for about 12 of those years. Hobbies...I love to garden.

Q: Are you still following the sport of gymnastics? If yes, what is the most dramatic change you’ve seen?
Kelly: I am currently not working in the gym but the biggest change I have seen is the equipment changes and, therefore, difficulty level and age of the gymnasts.

Q: Special honors or awards or positions you’ve had in the last 20 years.
Kelly: My biggest honor is being a Mom of two adorable kids. Secondly, I was inducted into the Gymnastics Hall of Fame,

Q: You’ve been through the Olympic Games, give advice to the athletes currently training for the Olympic Games in Beijing.
Kelly: Before the Olympics, work harder than you think you have to. Don't take criticism from coaches’ and judges’ personally. It is normal to struggle after your career is over, to find your true self without gymnastics. Gymnastics is only one significant portion of your life but it is NOT what life is really about. Gymnastics doesn't define you it is simply a God given talent that you have utilized to the highest level.


Brandy Johnson

Q: How does it feel to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the 1988 Olympic Games?
Brandy: It feels a little scary to be celebrating a "20" year anniversary of my Olympic Games! It seems like in a lot of ways that it was just yesterday for me.

Q: What is your most vivid memory from these Games?
Brandy: I can recall the memory of being on the podium at our first event, being presented to the judges and looking out into the crowd and seeing the flags of the USA waving. That was when it hit me that I was so proud to be representing my country. It is a feeling that will last forever.

Q: How did being an Olympian impact your life?
Brandy: The Olympic Games have impacted almost everything that I have done in my life to date. I have learned in hard times to call on the strength that it took and the determination to never give up on the things that you want in life. Most of all to be thankful for the opportunities and experience just to do it.

Q: Give us a brief update on what you’ve been doing the last 20 years … i.e. family, work, hobbies, etc.
Brandy: I live in Clermont, Florida. For the past 11 years, I have owned and coached in my gymnastics school, Brandy Johnson's Global Gymnastics. For the past 20 years, I have been involved in the sport of gymnastics. After the Olympic Games, I stayed in the sport and continued to compete. I had many proud moments including becoming a silver medalist at the 1989 World Championships. I hold the title of American Cup Champion, USA National Elite Champion, Jr. and Sr. I have had the honor of being inducted into the Florida Sports Hall of Fame, as well as the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame. I was nominated for the Sullivan Award and the Babe Zaharis Award. I competed in the first of the Professional Gymnastics Shows and competitions. I tried my hand in the movie industry as a stunt woman for women and children. I was an Athlete representative for the committee of the 2012 games. I am married and a mother to Sydney, who is 7 years old and named in honor of the Sydney Olympics because that is when she was born. She is definitely my gold medal!

Q: Are you still following the sport of gymnastics? If yes, what is the most dramatic change you’ve seen?
Brandy: I have remained very involved in the sport of gymnastics. It will always be my passion. I am always amazed at the standard of the Code of Points but I am more amazed at the athletes that continue to meet the challenges of it. On a personal note, I would have loved to have been able to use the vault the way that it is now and would have been equally intimidated by the width of the bars.

Q: You’ve been through the Olympic Games, give advice to the athletes currently training for the Olympic Games in Beijing.
Brandy: If I could give any advice to the athletes that are training for the Games, I would just tell them to concentrate on each training session like it will be your last one that you do forever in your lifetime. As hard as things are now and the pressure that you must feel, it will go away in the blink of an eye. Before you know it, you will be the one that is answering these questions about the past 20 years in your life. Breathe it all in and enjoy every minute of it.


Melissa Marlowe

Q: How does it feel to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the 1988 Olympic Games?
Melissa: In many ways it is impossible to believe that the Olympics were 20 years ago, and yet in the same breath I have to say that it seems like a different lifetime.

Q: Give us a brief update on what you’ve been doing the last 20 years … i.e. family, work, hobbies, etc.
Melissa: After the Olympics I immediately enrolled at the University of Utah during the middle of my senior year of high school and started competing for the Utes. That was a horrible first year, as I was tired and burned out but didn't want to take a full year off of gymnastics. After a lot of soul searching and much help from my amazing coaches, Greg and Megan Marsden and Jim and Meg Stephensen, I managed to really get back into things mentally. My sophomore year we won the NCAA team title, and followed that up with a second place finish in 1991 and another Team Championship in 1992. That same year, I won Bars, Beam, Floor, and the All-around, an NCAA record that held for many years. I finished with 12 All-American awards as well. I was nominated for the Honda award as the country's top NCAA gymnast, and went on to become the only gymnast that has ever won the Honda Broderick cup, for the most outstanding female athlete in any NCAA sport. This is one of my proudest accomplishments, as I beat Mia Hamm of soccer fame, Lisa Fernandez, a four time softball Olympian, and Dawn Staley of the WNBA, among others, that year for the honor. I graduated at 20, and immediately opened Missy Marlowe's Gymnastics and Sports Center in Salt Lake City. I married my husband, Joe Clausi, in 1998, and had my daughter, Milan Marlowe Clausi, in 2000. After coaching many young gymnasts to state and regional titles, I sold the gym in 2002 to spend more time with my daughter and stepson, Joseph, now 15. In 2005 I had my second daughter, Marlie Marie. My children love gymnastics and dance, and Milan won the state championships for Level 5 in the 7 year old division. I currently teach private lessons, some team kids, have my real estate license, and do personal training. My new sport love is tennis, which I took up a few years ago, but gymnastics will always be my passion and the biggest part of me!

Q: You’ve been through the Olympic Games, give advice to the athletes currently training for the Olympic Games in Beijing.
Melissa: My advice to this year's Olympians would be, without getting too distracted, to soak in as much of the atmosphere of the Olympics as you possibly can. Most people will go their entire lives without even meeting an Olympian, it is that amazing of an accomplishment. I wish I could go back and not be so overwhelmed, be able to take in the details, remember more, than just being so nervous about the actual competition like I was. Now that Americans are the best gymnasts in the world, I hope they can take in the experience and not let it go by in a blur the way I did!


Phoebe Mills

Q: How does it feel to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the 1988 Olympic Games?
Phoebe: Wow, I can't believe it has been 20 years already. I am very excited to meet up with former teammates to share memories from the '88 Olympics and learn about what everyone is doing now.

Q: What is your most vivid memory from these Games?
Phoebe: Winning a medal on the beam and being in the athlete’s village.

Q: How did being an Olympian impact your life?
Phoebe: Being in the Olympics taught me that hard work really does pay off. It has impacted my life by giving me the courage to set other ambitious goals and to follow through until achieving those goals.

Q: Where do you currently reside and what are you currently doing?
Phoebe: I currently live in South Londonderry, Vermont. I have a small law practice with a focus on environmental law. I also enjoy snowboarding whenever I get the chance.

Q: Give us a brief update on what you’ve been doing the last 20 years … i.e. family, work, hobbies, etc.
Phoebe: Shortly after I stopped doing gymnastics I became interested in diving and began competing. I was on the diving team during most of the time I attended the University of Miami. I focused on the 10-meter platform and won the Big East Championships several times as well as earned a spot on the National Team in 1994. After college I got involved with snowboarding. I moved to Vermont and became a snowboard coach for a small boarding school. I ended up coaching several high level snowboarders, including Olympian Danny Kass. In 2001, I decided to attend the Vermont Law School. I earned a JD and a Master of Studies in Environmental Law. I was licensed in 2005 and have been practicing law since. I am still involved in snowboarding as a professional judge and as the Vice President of USASA, the national amateur snowboard association.

Q: Are you still following the sport of gymnastics? If yes, what is the most dramatic change you’ve seen?
Phoebe: I don't always follow gymnastics, but when I do I am amazed at the change in the equipment and the constant progression of the gymnasts.

Q: Special honors, awards or positions you’ve had in the last 20 years.
Phoebe: Other than being inducted into the Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2001, I received the USSA (United States Ski and Snowboard Association) Domestic Snowboard Coach of the Year award in 1999 and the Anna McIntyre Citation in 2008.

Q: You’ve been through the Olympic Games, give advice to the athletes currently training for the Olympic Games in Beijing.
Phoebe: Work hard and follow your dreams! Determination, persistence and a positive attitude will help you achieve your goals.


Hope Spivey

Q: How does it feel to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the 1988 Olympic Games?
Hope: I am very excited to have our 1988 Olympic Team back together again. It is amazing 20 years has passed and yet it feels like yesterday.

Q: What is your most vivid memory from these Games?
Hope: My most vivid memory of our Games was of course the opening ceremonies, but in addition the team spirit we demonstrated throughout our competitions.

Q: How did being an Olympian impact your life?
Hope: Being an Olympian has impacted my life in ways that are difficult to describe. It puts you in a different category as an athlete and enables you to use the talent and knowledge we have been blessed with in so many different ways.

Q: Give us a brief update on what you’ve been doing the last 20 years … i.e. family, work, hobbies, etc.
Hope: I currently reside in Winder, Georgia. I am the President/Owner of Spivey's Gymnastics International, Inc. I’ve owned my own gym for the last 10 years. From 1990-1994 I attended the University of Georgia where I obtained a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in Child and Family Development. Athletically, 1991 NCAA Vault, Floor and All-Around Champion, 1993 NCAA Team Champions, 11 time All-American, 1994 NCAA Floor Champion with a 10.0, still hold record for most 10.0's scored in any competitions (27), 2004 Inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, 2007 Inducted into the University of Georgia's Circle of Honor. I won the bronze medal in the all-around competition at U.S. Championships; finished in the top five in major U.S. competitions; 1987 set a record score at the Pan American Games as a member of the gold medal winning U.S. team, named All American in all four gymnastics events in a single year, was the first freshman to ever win the NCAA All-Around title, set a record of the highest score in collegiate gymnastics history with 39.525...won the NCAA floor titles twice, In 1991 awarded the Honda Sports Award for the Top Female Collegiate Gymnast in the nation, as a freshman - won a bronze medal in vault. All time national record holder for most perfect 10's with 17 total; 1994 won second NCAA individual floor exercise title with the only 10 scored at that year's Championship, was named the SEC's Gymnast of the Year; 15 year career, national, international, collegiate & professional. Joined two professional gymnastics tours -- Reeses Cup of International Gymnastics & the Kurt Thomas Gymnastics Tour. In 2004 was inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame in Virginia; in September, 2007 was inducted in the Circle of Honor at UGA

Q: Are you still following the sport of gymnastics? If yes, what is the most dramatic change you’ve seen?
Hope: Yes, I do continue to follow the sport and the major differences are the skills and combination of skills being thrown. I have a 3 year old daughter Kristina who is already showing a love and desire for gymnastics

Q: You’ve been through the Olympic Games, give advice to the athletes currently training for the Olympic Games in Beijing.
Hope: To the athletes currently training, continue to give your all, keep a positive attitude and always remember that God has a plan for each and every one of you. I wish you all continued success as the Games draw near and with everything in the future.


Chelle Stack

Q: How does it feel to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the 1988 Olympic Games?
Chelle: Well, I can’t believe it has been 20 years. Where has the time gone? What an amazing feeling it is for all of us to come together after 20 years. We experienced such an amazing accomplishment together and to be able to celebrate this time together is so special. I am honored to be a part of the 1988 Olympic Team.

Q: What is your most vivid memory from these Games?
Chelle: I have so many great memories of the Games, some amazing and some disappointing. The whole experience that we took part in, are memories that will never fade. I remember especially the friendship that Brandy and I had. We spent lots of our time together and made a lot of memories of the Games together. From the training in LA, traveling with the boxing team, training in Korea, the green equipment, and the food. But one of the most amazing moments to me was Opening Ceremonies. I didn’t realize what a huge honor and magnitude of what I had accomplished until then. You really don’t know at age 15. And I appreciate it more as I get older. Then actually lining up to march out on that first day of competition was surreal. I will never forget that. Of course then falling on my best event is a fairly vivid memory, too. The Olympic Games was full of so many different emotions.

Q: How did being an Olympian impact your life?
Chelle: I don’t know if being an Olympian impacted my life as much as the passion I have for the sport of gymnastics. I have been very blessed by the opportunities that have been presented to me because of the hard work and dedication that the sport teaches. The accomplishments I had definitely made my life easier and allowed for certain doors to be opened. And I am so grateful to my parents and coaches for leading me in the direction to achieve my goals.

Q: Give us a brief update on what you’ve been doing the last 20 years … i.e. family, work, hobbies, etc.
Chelle: I currently live in Orlando, Florida, and own my own gym club, Chelle Stack’s Gymnastics. I’m also a FIG brevet judge, along with quite a few of my former teammates. The last 20 years have been amazing. Of course first I graduated from high school in Houston, Texas, where parents still live. I received a full scholarship to the University of Oklahoma (GO SOONERS!) where I competed for my sophomore and junior years. I also was a member of the National Champion Oklahoma Cheer Squad in 1993. I graduated from OU in 1996 with a degree in Communications and Spanish. After that I coached for awhile in Houston and Dallas. Then I got the most amazing opportunity to join and perform for Cirque Du Soliel. I moved to Montreal in 1998 for five months for the creation of their new show “La Nouba” that would be permanent at Downtown Disney. I was part of the house troop that danced and jumped power track and trampoline for 10 shows a week. I retired from performing in December 2001. I then continued with my passion of the sport by opening my own gym. In 2004 I received my Brevet judges rating and have also been judging internationally for the last four years. My hobby is gymnastics and love being associated with all parts of the sport, teaching, judging and performing. I also have taken up wakeboarding and love the sunny state of Florida.

Q: Are you still following the sport of gymnastics? If yes, what is the most dramatic change you’ve seen?
Chelle: I am definitely still following the sport. I guess the most obvious change in the sport would be the changes in the scoring. The perfect 10 is kind of gone, but not really, if you understand the judging process. An athlete can still get a 10 on their execution but then it is added to the difficulty score. I think though, the most dramatic change would be in the way the coaches, athletes and USA Gymnastics work together. The introduction of the semi-centralized training system, I think has brought the country together as a team. Everyone is working together to have to best possible outcome, and that is not only in medal count. The camaraderie among all the athletes and coaches is so nice to see. The support the athletes have from USA Gymnastics is amazing. Every aspect of the athletes training from the day to day structure of training for the most effective outcome, to the education of injury prevention, and the continued education on healthy diet for the elite athlete. It is a National Team in all aspects, not just talent. I am honored everyday with the opportunity to share my passion of gymnastics with the young athletes I coach and judge.

Q: You’ve been through the Olympic Games, give advice to the athletes currently training for the Olympic Games in Beijing.
Chelle: I think the best advice I can give the athletes training for Beijing would to enjoy every moment of it. Time goes by so fast and the memories fade. Live in the moment of what you are doing and give it everything you have. The hard days will be easier and the easy days will be exceptional!! To be where you are at this place in your life is extraordinary. You are the best gymnast in the country and world. No one can take that away. You have worked harder than most people ever have in their lives and you should be proud of yourself everyday. We are all cheering for you!


Rhonda Faehn - Traveling First Alternate

Q: How does it feel to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the 1988 Olympic Games?
Rhonda: I still can't believe that 20 years has passed already! It seems so fresh in my memory....all of us flying over to Seoul with the U.S. boxing team!

Q: What is your most vivid memory from these Games?
Rhonda: My most vivid memory is of Phoebe winning the bronze medal on beam. That was the highlight for me of the entire Olympics. I love Phoebe and she was so deserving of that. She was the hardest working gymnast I have ever known.

Q: How did being an Olympian impact your life?
Rhonda: It's hard to say how it impacted my life...I love gymnastics just as much now as I did then and it will have a hold on me until I die.

Q: Give us a brief update on what you’ve been doing the last 20 years … i.e. family, work, hobbies, etc.
Rhonda: I currently live in Gainesville, Florida, and I am the head coach for the gymnastics team at the University of Florida. After the Olympics, I attended UCLA and then coached private club for a few years. After that, I worked at the Collegiate level at the University of Maryland, the University of Nebraska, and now the University of Florida. I married the Florida assistant tennis coach (Jeremy Bayon) in June of 2006 and I just had a baby boy (Noah Emile) on January, 8, 2008.

Q: Are you still following the sport of gymnastics? If yes, what is the most dramatic change you’ve seen?
Rhonda: I am still heavily involved in our sport. The most dramatic change is of course, to the Code of Points. I miss seeing the combination of difficulty and artistry! During our Olympics you could still see a full in off of beam or a double double on floor....AND have the dance, beauty, and originality...that I see is not there today for the most part. The gymnasts have to do SO much that there is no time for the other.

Q: Special honors or awards or positions you’ve had in the last 20 years.
Rhonda: I was named the NCAA head coach of the year in 2007 by the NCAA Collegiate Association as well as the SEC Head Coach of the year in 2006 and 2007, and the 2007 NCAA Regional Head Coach of the Year.

Q: You’ve been through the Olympic Games, give advice to the athletes currently training for the Olympic Games in Beijing.
Rhonda: Wow...the advice that I would give the athletes is to make each day count. They should be able to stand in front of a mirror after it is all said and done, and be able to say, "I did everything possible to make this the best experience that I could." It is also important to have fun and enjoy the moment, it goes so fast!


Kristie Phillips - Non-Traveling Second Alternate

Q: How does it feel to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the 1988 Olympic Games?
Kristie: It seems absolutely amazing that it has been 20 years. A lot has happened in 20 years, but to sit and think that it only took 16 years to get there and it has been 20 years since it has happened it is mind boggling.

Q: What is your most vivid memory from these Games?
Kristie: My most vivid memory of the Olympic experience was not the best...I remember the girls getting into the vans to leave for the airport and finding out I was not able to travel with them. I had been through all the training camps and evaluations right up to the day they left, then I wished them good luck and wondered what will I do? It was devastating, but none-the-less life went on.

Q: How did being an Olympian impact your life?
Kristie: The entire process of training, leaving home at such a young age, and dedicating so much time and energy to the sport had a much greater impact on my life then being an alternate for the Olympics. Persevering through the hard times, enjoying the moments of victory, sacrificing time with family and friends, learning new skills, reaching new levels, traveling with teammates around the world, and finding a passion that would last a lifetime has impacted my life more than any one moment. Not to mention some people will live a lifetime and NEVER find their passion. I feel truly blessed to have had the AMAZING and PRICELESS experiences that came with my gymnastics career.

Q: Give us a brief update on what you’ve been doing the last 20 years … i.e. family, work, hobbies, etc.
Kristie: I currently live in Troutman, N.C., and own my own gymnastics program KPAC (Kristie Phillips Athletic Center) where all Levels 4-9 finished in the top 10 in the state and qualified my first two athletes to Level 9 Easterns. I work with Gary Warren in the TOPs program for USA Gymnastics. I serve on the NC board of directors, and I’m the judges’ rep. for North Carolina on the Region 8 board. I am an International Brevet judge and have enjoyed judging at this level more than words can express. Just recently I was named the athlete representative for USA Gymnastics and was cleared by the USOC to serve on the Olympic Selection Committee. I am a mother of a 21 month year old little boy Sebastian, and wife for 12 years to Horatio Bannister. I am currently pregnant with twin girls who will definitely be exposed to the sport at a young age.

The past 20 years has brought many unique experiences to my life and they are all a direct result of my gymnastics career. I went to LSU on a Cheerleading scholarship where I studied theatre and journalism which brought me to the next junction in life. I moved to NYC in 1993 and began acting, modeling, stunt work, and dancing in a professional dance company Antigravity. I starred in the major motion picture "Spitfire," had several national and regional commercials, and did stunt work in two major motion pictures and several TV movies. Performing with Antigravity allowed me to continue to travel around the world and perform which is what I love doing the most.

Q: Are you still following the sport of gymnastics? If yes, what is the most dramatic change you’ve seen?
Kristie: I still follow the sport as I am deeply involved with gymnastics everyday of my life. From coaching, judging, traveling, running a business, serving on boards, and serving as an athlete representative I would say gymnastics still consumes my life. The most dramatic change I have seen in the sport is the way the coaches, athletes, and governing body actually work together to provide the absolute best quality of life for these young ladies that are giving up so much to be able to represent the USA at the elite level of gymnastics. For the first time I have seen coaches providing help to all the athletes at the elite level and not just hoarding their own knowledge. It is truly a united team with a system that has been put together to benefit not only the prospect of being the best in the world, but also putting the athletes and their needs FIRST! It is amazing to me how close the girls are to each other, too. They actually communicate with one another across the country and have become a great support system for each other which is something that didn't happen as much in the past. It is not as competitive within the U.S. they actually work together as a team and I believe they have proven that this system is working, with numerous World and Olympic titles in the past seven years. The other drastic change is the scoring system and the skills that the athletes are able to do, not to mention the equipment itself has changed quite a bit which has helped the athletes’ abilities to maintain their physical bodies and continue to be able to train at en elite level for longer periods of time which has given us YOUNG LADIES on our Olympic team and not little girls which I believe has helped to contribute to the maturity of the sport.

Q: Special honors or awards or positions you’ve had in the last 20 years.
Kristie: I was inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2006. I currently serve on the NC board of directors and the Region 8 judges rep for NC. I was the Honorary Youth Leader for the March of Dimes 1988-1992. I was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 1989. I was the official spokesperson for General Motors and United Auto Workers with their sponsorship for the 1996 Olympics. Currently serving as the USA Gymnastics’ Athlete Representative, and serving on the Olympic Selection committee.

Q: You’ve been through the Olympic Games, give advice to the athletes currently training for the Olympic Games in Beijing.
Kristie: My advice to all the athletes is to believe in yourselves, try your absolute hardest, and always look at your accomplishments in life and not what you consider failing. Remember only six athletes compete every four years at the Olympics and the accomplishments that they have already achieved are much more impressive than most people will ever have the chance to achieve in a lifetime. Look at what you HAVE done and not at what you DIDN’T do. Don't be afraid of failing at something and not even try because you are afraid..... life is too short... keep persevering, achieving, and believing in yourself."


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