Olympic gymnast Shannon Lee Miller (1977-) was born on this day in Rolla, Missouri. The most decorated gymnast in American history, Miller has won seven Olympic (2 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze) and nine World Championship medals.
"God is your only coach. He directs your every move," she said.
After wearing leg braces as an infant to correct a birth defect, Miller discovered a passion for gymanasitcs as a young child. She made her world championships debut in 1991. She blew the world away in the 1992 Olympics, winning five medals, including the silver in all-around and beam.
"My defining moments," Miller said, "are in what most people would think of as failures, when I hit bottom or really messed up. That's when you show your true character."
She made history in 1994, becoming the first American in history to win two consecutive World Gymnastic All-Around titles. "Never set limits on yourself," she said.
In 1998, Miller shared her inspirational philosophy with the book, Winning Every Day: Gold Medal Advice for a Happy, Healthy Life. "I've learned to be disciplined and organized in order to balance gymnastics, college, and a social life," she said. An enjoyable, easy read, the book was a powerful motivator, especially for teenage girls.
Inducted into the United States Gymnatics Hall of Fame in 2003, Miller continues to be an advocate for her sport and spread her message--urging others to "tap into their inner strength to meet and overcome their challenges in life."
What's truly important, said the deeply-spiritual Miller, "Isn't medals and winning. The truly important things are my family, my friends, and a feeling of purpose in my life."
High expectations are the key to everything.