The Magnificent Seven: Where are they now?
The teenagers that became sports icons when they won gold at the Atlanta Olympics are now authors, coaches, mothers, government employees and doctors.
Then: An 18-year-old without the star power of her teammates—until one gutsy vault make her an Olympic icon
Now: A 38-year-old civil servant with over a decade of experience working with the U.S. government
Strug never competed again after her vault in the team final. Despite the fact that she didn’t actually need to land a second vault to secure gold for the U.S. women—they already had enough of a lead that they would have won without Strug’s score—she became a national hero.
She appeared on Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Beverly Hills 90210, the covers of Time and People Magazine, and published a memoir titled “Landing on My Feet: A Diary of Dreams.”
Strug enrolled in the University of California, Los Angeles in the fall of 1996. She transferred to Stanford after her sophomore year, and one semester was in the same statistics class as her 1996 teammate, Amy Chow. Strug graduated with a B.A. in Communications and continued her Stanford education to earn a Master’s in Sociology.
Her first job out of college was as a second grade teacher in San Jose, Calif. In 2003, she moved to Washington, D.C. to work with the Department of the Treasury in the Office of General Counsel.
She’s continued her work with the government and is currently a program manager for the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
In 2010, she married Robert Fischer III, a lawyer, and they have two children: Tyler, 4, and Alayna, 2. They live in Strug’s hometown of Tucson, Arizona. She is still 4-foot-10.
Then: A shy 19-year-old with 16 total Olympic and world championship medals
Now: A poised 39-year-old author, broadcaster and motivational speaker who is still the most decorated U.S. gymnast of all time
Miller was already a five-time medalist from the 1992 Olympics when she competed with the Magnificent Seven at the 1996 Games. With her signature scrunchie, she was the only Magnificent Seven gymnast to win an individual gold (on balance beam) at the Atlanta Olympics.
She’s also the only woman to be inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame twice, both as an individual athlete and as a member of a team with the Magnificent Seven.
She stopped competing in 1997, but tried to make a comeback for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She started training again about seven months before the U.S. Olympic Trials, which she says, looking back on it, was “a little bit crazy.”
“But I felt like I did a good job of really saying ‘Ok, I’m going to give it 100% and whatever happens, happens. And whatever happens, I’m never going to have to look back and say what if.’”
Not making the team “really launched a different career” for Miller, she says. “That year I worked with MSNBC over in Sydney, and I had never even though about pursuing a broadcasting career of any type. Never thought about being in front of the camera. I would have been terrified but I kind of jumped in with both feet and I realized it was another side of gymnastics that I could be involved in.”
Miller attended the University of Houston and Boston College Law School. She started her own fitness and health company, Shannon Miller Lifestyle, and a foundation dedicated to educating people about the risks of childhood obesity.
She has two children with John Falconetti, whom she married in 2008. Her son Rocco is 6 and her daughter Sterling is 3, and yes, she does “Mommy and me” gymnastics classes with them.
“I don’t know if my son’s going to be a gymnast,” Miller said. “He’s still in but he really likes golf and he likes swimming. And my daughter’s just having a blast with whatever she does.”
In 2011, Miller was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and successfully underwent chemotherapy. She says she realized that “what I learned in gymnastics helped me through my cancer journey.” She wrote a blog post on her website about it, and eventually expanded it into a memoir titled “It's Not About Perfect: Competing for My Country and Fighting for My Life,” which was published in 2015. She currently lives in Jacksonville, Florida.
Then: A 19-year-old known as "Awesome Dawesome" who went on to compete in her third Olympics in 2000
Now: A 39-year-old self-described "stay-at-home mom" who co-chairs the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition
The only member of the Magnificent Seven to compete in three Olympics, Dawes earned four total Olympic medals and was the first African-American gymnast to win an individual medal when she earned a bronze on the floor exercise in 1996.
At the 2000 Sydney Games, Dawes and the other U.S. female gymnasts originally finished fourth in the team competition. But in 2010, they were awarded a bronze medal because the Chinese team that finished ahead of them was proven to have used an underage, and thus ineligible, athlete.
When she wasn’t competing, Dawes got a taste of show business by appearing on Broadway in Grease! as cheerleader Patty Simcox. She also danced in the music video for Prince’s “Betcha by Golly, Wow!”
After officially retiring, Dawes started working as a motivational speaker, broadcaster and coach at gymnastics clinics. She joined the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition in 2010 and is currently a co-chair with Drew Brees.
In 2013 she married Jeff Thompson, a teacher at a Catholic school in Maryland. They have two daughters together: Kateri, 2, and Quinn, 9 months. Like Miller, she signed up her older daughter for “Mommy and me” classes and says Kateri seems to love the sport. “I hate to say it, but she almost is coming off as a natural,” Dawes said.
Then: A 14-year-old, 4-foot-6, 75 pound tumbling dynamo who is still the youngest U.S. gymnast ever to win an Olympic gold medal
Now: A 34-year-old jewelry designer who has survived years of family drama
The youngest and smallest member of the Magnificent Seven, Moceanu kept training after Atlanta and grew seven inches. She hoped to make a second Olympic team in 2000, but a knee injury kept her from competing at the U.S. Olympic Trials.
Before that disappointment, Moceanu battled through turmoil in her personal life. In 1998 she sued her parents for emancipation and asked for a restraining order against her father, Dimitry. She claimed he had squandered the money she had earned as a gymnast—$2 million since she turned professional at 10 years old—and was verbally and physically abusive. There were allegations that Dimitry had hired a hit man to kill one of her coaches.
Moceanu won her freedom, and the family eventually reconciled. Dimitry walked Moceanu down the aisle when she married Michael Canales, a podiatrist, in 2006.
Moceanu returned to competitive gymnasts at age 23 with Canales as her coach. She competed at the 2006 U.S. Classic but didn’t qualify for that year’s national championships.
A year later, Moceanu was nine months pregnant with her first child and studying for her finals at John Carroll University when she received a package in the mail. It was from a woman named Jennifer Bricker who had been given up for adoption as a baby. When Bricker got older, she learned who her biological parents were: Moceanu’s mother and father.
Moceanu was shocked to find out she had a sister she never knew about, and even more surprised when she learned that Bricker was born without legs. Their parents, immigrants from Romania, gave Bricker up for adoption because they thought they couldn’t afford her medical bills. Bricker thrived with her adopted family, even taking up gymnastics and competing in the power tumbling event at the AAU Junior Olympics.
Moceanu wrote about her discovery of her sister in her memoir, “Off Balance,” published in 2012. She earned her degree in business management in 2009, and in 2014, she started a line of custom jewelry, Creations by C&C. She now has two children, Carmen, 8, and Vincent, 7, and lives in Cleveland, Ohio.
Then: A 19-year-old team captain who led the Magnificent Seven to gold
Now: A 39-year-old coach and owner of two gymnastics centers
Borden retired from competition after the 1996 Olympics and went on to attend Arizona State University, graduating summa cum laude with a degree in elementary education in 2003. While she didn’t compete collegiately, Borden told the ASU Alumni Association, “I was very involved with the ASU gymnastics team, participating in their workouts and acting as a team manager.”
The experience prepared her to open her own gym, the aptly named Gold Medal Gymnastics Academy. Borden’s gym has two locations in Tempe and Chandler, Arizona. "My goal is to touch the lives of children all across Arizona to help them reach their goals, whatever they may be," Borden says on her gym’s website. She also works as a broadcast analyst for gymnastics and cheerleading competitions.
Borden got married in 2006 to Brad Cochran, a fellow ASU student. He co-owns Gold Medal Gymnastics with Borden and manages the business side.
“I married into this deal,’’ Cochran told TeamUSA.org in 2010. “I never thought I’d know so much about leotards.’’
Borden was the first member of the Magnificent Seven to have a baby: a daughter named Kennedy, who is now 9. She also has two sons: 6-year-old Brody and 1-year-old Josh.
Then: A 16-year-old who competed at three world championships
Now: A 36-year-old owner of an athletic training center in her hometown of Greenfield, Indiana
Phelps retired after winning gold with the Magnificent Seven, but made a comeback in 2000 in hopes of making the team for the Sydney Olympics. While her teammates Dawes and Chow succeeded, Phelps didn’t make it and retired for good after the 2000 National Championships.
Phelps was married to fellow gymnast and 2004 Olympic silver medalist Brett McClure, but the two divorced after three years of marriage in 2008.
In 2010 she opened the Jaycie Phelps Athletic Center in her hometown of Greenfield, Indiana. Co-owned with her now-husband, Dave Marus, and her father, the facility is a 25,000 square foot athletic training center that offers training for gymnasts and cheerleaders.
Then: An 18-year-old who excelled at school and the gym
Now: A 38-year-old pediatrican and Stanford Medical School graduate
After Atlanta, Chow went on to compete in the 2000 Sydney Olympics with Dawes. Both received team bronze medals from the Sydney Games—10 years later. The U.S. women originally finished fourth in the 2000 Olympic team final, but were upgraded after the Chinese team that placed ahead of them was stripped of their medal for falsifying the age of an ineligible gymnast.
Chow juggled both her undergraduate studies at Stanford with her gymnastics training leading up to the Sydney Olympics. After earning her B.S. in Biology in 2002, Chow continued her education and graduated from Stanford Medical School in 2007.
Not content to enjoy her retirement from gymnastics, Chow took up pole vaulting and diving. She said pole vaulting was more of a fun hobby to give her mind a break from medical school, but her diving career almost took her to the 2012 Olympic Trials.
She instead chose to focus on her career as a pediatrician in the Bay Area of Northern California. She told Stanford.edu that she was inspired to work with kids by the pediatrician who treated her own injuries as a young gymnast.
She married orthopedic surgeon Justin Ho in 2010 and they have two sons together: Timmy, 4, and Matty, 1.