Have arriving students remember a victory they have achieved in their life and invite willing volunteers to share about this victory with the large group once everyone arrives. Some examples might include: Competing in a spelling bee, presenting a project successfully in front of a large audience, winning a sporting event, performing flawlessly in a concert program, etc.
After students are all in place, call on volunteers to share their stories of victory. Be prepared to share your own story.
When sports teams win a game, they often take what is known as a “victory lap.” The players on the team grab a symbol of their sport, such as a soccer ball or country flag if it is an Olympic event, and the entire team runs around the edge of the field near the fans so all can celebrate the win together.
The video clip we’re watching today happened before you were born at the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta. The U.S. held a tiny lead over the Russians in a sport where the Russians usually dominated and the U.S. had never won. The first four American gymnasts landed their vaults, but were docked points for various errors; the next gymnast fell twice. Kerri Strug was the last gymnast to vault for the States. Strugs tore two ligaments in her ankle when she landed the vault, but her coach told her they needed her to go one more time. Let’s watch what happened.
Show your students this video [1:12]:
Kerri Strug Vaults at Atlanta 1996 | Epic Olympic Moments
When she landed the second vault, Strug said something in her ankle snapped again and it “felt like a bomb went off.” She collapsed in pain, but her effort cinched the gold for the U.S. Her coach ran over, snatched her up and carried her in a victory lap.
- If you had injured your ankle on the first jump, do you think you would have attempted to vault again? Why or why not? (Answers will vary.)
- What is memorable about Strug’s victory lap? (Strug was carried along in the arms of her coach; her coach, all of her team members, and all Americans shared in the victory that day.)
Strug did not let her injury stop her from pursuing victory. Her team was so close to an Olympic gold team medal, Strug knew she had to power through her injury for the good of her team. All Americans shared the victory that day.
Today we’re going to talk about a shared victory that affects everyone everywhere—a far greater victory than Olympic gold. Let’s see how this applies to us today.
Remembering Kerri Strug’s Vault into the Spotlight (on a Bad Ankle) at the 1996 Summer Games: