Catherine and I are having a mini argument in the comments section about what it takes to be considered a Best of anything. IMO you have to have been there and proved yourself to be considered the best. Catherine thinks differently so I would like to know what you think.
Who would you nominate for the Best US gymnasts of all time? You get ten choices. Than tell me how you came to this conclusion . What mattered to you when making this decision. Were medals won a consideration or did you take into consideration just how fixed certain aspects of USA-gymnastics can be.
Here is a website that lists the medals won by each US gymnast. I don’t believe it is updated with the current Olympics.
Here is the individual pages for gymnasts where you can look up full medal count.
My list, which is not done yet is pretty easy but only when it comes to,
Number one. Shannon Miller. There is no debate in my mind and honestly I don’t even care what the future gymnasts accomplish I don’t think Shannon Miller’s name will ever be anything but number one. The competition now is way too weak to even compare with what Miller had to deal with.
She competed against the Soviets and she won. She should have been the 1992 Olympic AA champion. She made all 4 event finals at 3 World Championships ( 91, 93 and 95) and one of the two Olympics she competed at, a first for a US gymnast. (Something no other US gymnast has ever done mind you) Shannon also competed injured her entire career and she still won. I can only imagine what she might have done in 93, 94 , 95 and 96 if she did not have a pulled stomach muscle or a bad ankle or surgery to have a pin out in her arm or whatever other big injury she was dealing with. Everyone competes injured but not like Shannon did.
Her two AA wins (in 1993 and 1994) did not involve the Soviet system being in existence but the gymnasts she did beat were learned their basics under that system. Do you think Lilia Podkopayeva would have been half the gymnast she was if she had trained under Ukraine when learning the basics? The answer to that is simple, no.
Number 2 is actually locked up already too and as much as I can’t stand her as a person and I find her overrated as a gymnast you can’t really argue with her medal count (individual medals maybe but overall you do not win 14 World or Olympic medals without some talent.)
So Nastia should take second. The only real knock I have with Nastia is her two AA medals (at worlds in 05 and the Olympics in 08) were literally won by competing with only one other gymnast(Chellsie in 2005 where she was second and Shawn in 2008) No offense to Monette Russo but that was the third place finisher in 2005. The event Finals were not much better.
Here is where it gets tough.