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|Olympic Medals Won|
|Birthdate||6 February 1976|
Early life and trainingEdit
Zmeskal was born in Houston, Texas. From a young age, Zmeskal trained with coaching great Béla Károlyi, who had bought a run-down gym in Zmeskal's Houston, Texas neighborhood. This gave Zmeskal the opportunity to observe and interact with her heroine, Mary Lou Retton. In 1989, at the age of 13, Zmeskal became the U.S. Junior National Champion. She also took first place in the American Classic, the Swiss Cup Mixed Pairs (with Lance Ringnald), and the Arthur Gander Memorial. Zmeskal went on to become a three-time consecutive U.S. National Champion. In international events, she began a rivalry with the Soviet Union's Svetlana Boginskaya.
1992 Barcelona OlympicsEdit
At the World Championships in 1991 in Indianapolis, the team silver medal was a first for the Americans, and Zmeskal became the first American to achieve the World All-Around gold medal. So, Americans had high hopes for Zmeskal and the U.S. team heading the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games, with Zmeskal earning the cover of both Time and Newsweek magazines before the Games. In the U.S. National Championships and Olympic Trials, Zmeskal battled an emerging Shannon Miller, with Miller defeating Zmeskal at the Trials.
Zmeskal disappointed at the Games, falling off the balance beam during her compulsory routine on the first night of competition. Although she would rebound with performances on the floor, vault, and bars, Zmeskal was in 32nd place after the compulsories and 5th on the American team. She would further rebound with impressive scores of 9.912 on beam, 9.95 on vault, 9.9 on uneven bars, and a 9.925 on floor during the finals of the team competition, moving Zmeskal into 12th place and into the all-around competition by finishing third among the American women. Her combined score of 39.687 for the night was the highest of any competitor.
Although earning enough points to compete in the all-around competition, Zmeskal would again falter during her first event, the floor exercise, stepping out of bounds. It would later be revealed that Zmeskal was suffering from a stress fracture in her ankle before the Olympics began.
Comeback and retirementEdit
Any dreams for a comeback to compete in the 1996 Olympic Games would be dashed due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her right knee suffered during a floor exercise.
In 1998, Zmeskal returned to competition with a decent showing at the U.S. National Championships in Indianapolis. By 1999, she was even considered a possibility for the 2000 Olympics team and represented the U.S. internationally. However, a torn achilles tendon on a double tuck on floor ended her career that year.
That same year, on October 23, she married coach Chris Burdette, whom she had met during a clinic. They wed at Karolyi's Ranch. Zmeskal now spends time with her husband, speaking and coaching, and opened a coaching program in Coppell, Texas with Texas Dreams Gymnastics. She has coached an athlete to nationals standard. The Burdettes had their first child, son Robert Ryder, in May 2005. Their second child, son Koda Christopher, was born July 17, 2006. Zmeskal announced in July 2009 via Twitter that she and her husband were expecting their third child, a girl. Riven was born on February 10, 2010 weighing 6 pounds, 14 ounces.
Zmeskal was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in May 2012.
Zmeskal was recognized for her middle tumbling pass on floor which consisted of a round-off, three consecutive whip-backs, back-handspring, into a double-back in the tucked position (sometimes with four whips into double-back). Another trademark was the way she would flare her arms out during full-twisting elements, most notably on her full-twisting Yurchenko vault.
Another signature move was the reverse planche with one bent leg, which was her opening move on the balance beam.