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We asked Shannon Miller about some of her favorite memories from the U.S. National Championships!

So, we’re reaching pretty far back for these memories but there are a couple from U.S. Championships that certainly stand out!

During my first National Championships, I was so excited to be competing on the national stage. The magnitude of the event was much larger than ever before. There was a huge audience, cameramen filming routines for television and amazing athletes all around me! I was taking it all in while trying to focus on my routines. As I was preparing to salute the judge for uneven bars, I grabbed a bottle sitting on the ground and put a touch more water on my grips. I didn’t realize I had grabbed the men’s sugar water concoction! I slid right off the bar on my overshoot. It was not my shining moment, but I definitely never made that mistake again!

Of course, the 1996 National Championships stands out because I knew that my score was going to have to count for Olympic Trials as well. Sitting out of the Trials would allow me to rest my injured wrist in between Championships and the Olympic Games. But the score had to hold. I went up on my first event, balance beam, and fell. Not a great start. But I remembered back to my first state competition where I had done the exact same thing. I had been devastated inside but my coach had tried to teach me the importance of focusing on the next positive step. Forget about the fall and focus on the next move.

That day, at 9 years-old, I was able to come back and win the competition with steady routines. And then here I was, ten years later, in the same position. I could feel bad and be upset (I was both of those things) or I could focus on the next move, the next routine and see what happened. Winning the National Championship in 1996 with a score that would secure my place on my second Olympic team was such an amazing moment!

No matter what challenges or failures I face, I try to remember to just try my best and keep taking that next forward step. You never know what great things can happen!

Photo Credit: Dave Black

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