Kim Zmeskal

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Kim Zmeskal
— Gymnast —
Kim Z.jpg
Kim Burdette in 2002.
Personal information
Full name Kimberly Lynn Zmeskal Burdette
Country represented  United States
Born (1976-02-06) February 6, 1976 (age 38)
Houston, Texas
Discipline Women's artistic gymnastics
Level Senior international elite
Club Karolyi's; CGA
Texas Dreams (coach)
Former coach(es) Béla Károlyi, Mary Lee Tracy

Kimberly Lynn "Kim" Burdette (née Zmeskal) (born February 6, 1976) is a former American gymnast who was a national and world champion and an Olympic bronze medalist. She currently coaches gymnastics and co-owns Texas Dreams Gymnastics in Coppell, Texas.

Early life and training[edit]

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.[1] 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.[2] In international events, she began a rivalry with the Soviet Union's Svetlana Boginskaya.[3]

1992 Barcelona Olympics[edit]

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.[4] 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.[5]

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.[6] 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 retirement[edit]

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 multiple US National Team athletes. 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.[7]

Gymnastic trademarks[edit]

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.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Litsky, Frank (11 June 1990). "A Senior Crown at Age 14". New York Times. Retrieved 29 July 2012. 
  2. ^ Janofsky, Michael (11 Jun 1992). "OLYMPICS; Zmeskal's Rise to Top Can Be Interrupted by a Fall". New York Times. Retrieved 29 July 2012. "Her national title in Columbus, Ohio, last month was her third...." 
  3. ^ Janofsky, Michael (15 Sep 1991). "GYMNASTICS; Zmeskal Driven to Overall Success". New York Times. Retrieved 29 July 2012. 
  4. ^ Swift, E.M. (23 September 1991). "A Wow At The Worlds". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 29 July 2012. 
  5. ^ Janofsky, Michael (15 Jun 1992). "OLYMPICS; The Trial Is Not Over For Female Gymnasts". New York Times. Retrieved 29 July 2012. 
  6. ^ Janofsky, Michael (27 July 1992). "BARCELONA: GYMNASTICS; A Stunning Reverse In Zmeskal's Opener". New York Times. Retrieved 29 July 2012. 
  7. ^ "Kim Zmeskal makes Gymnastics Hall". 20 May 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2012. 

External links[edit]

Video Interviews[edit]