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shannon miller

London 2012 Olympics: World Champion Jordyn Wieber’s Elimination

Written on July 30, 2012 at 5:11 pm , by

If you’re a fitness fanatic like myself, I’m sure you’re glued to your TV (or two computers streaming live and one delayed TV broadcast!) for all things happening in London. For the first time ever, I’m proud to say that I rarely got up from my couch this weekend because I was so tuned in to the Olympic events—go Team USA! The “Fab 5″ US gymnastics team this year are absolutely phenomenal (not to mention so damn cute!). I’m in awe every time they run, flip, jump, twist and land on their two feet so beautifully. While the USA is edging forward toward a team gold, one of the biggest upsets in what’s sure to be gymnastics history happened yesterday too.

Jordyn discovers her unlikely fate. (Photo courtesy of Associated Press)

Jordyn Wieber, the reigning World Champion in the all-around division, was pushed out of the all-around finals, after placing third behind her two teammates, main rival 16-year-old Gabby Douglas and best friend and Olympic-village roommate, 18-year-old Aly Raisman. Leading up to the London Games, not much was said about team captain Aly, as the attention was mainly focused on Jordyn and Gabby, the teammates openly vying for the coveted All-Around Champion Title (an Olympic win in this category—in which gymnasts’ scores for all four events, vault, uneven bars, beam and floor routine are combined—is considered the mother of all titles to win). As the media coverage on Jordyn and Gabby picked up speed, finally coming to a head during Sunday’s preliminary events, no one predicted this outcome would happen.

Some might say that Jordyn simply had a bad day, making a few uncharacteristic mistakes on beam and the floor routine, or you could say that Aly truly shined under pressure, but one thing’s for sure, poor Jordyn Wieber was knocked out of USA’s top two spots and excluded from the all-around finals competition. Due to a rule that says each country can only send two gymnasts from their team into this competition, she will not be able to advance, even though Jordyn is ranked 4th overall (only two-tenths of a point behind teammate Gabby). As I watched this play out on TV, I was in awe and heartbroken to see Jordyn’s dreams collapse in front of billions of people. I just wanted to jump through my screen and give the girl a hug! This athlete handled herself with such grace and maturity, finally speaking to the media after her tears slowed down.

Is it fair that she should be locked out of this competition, when other gymnasts scoring much lower than her will be able to move ahead? If it’s truly a competition on the all-around champion (the best of the best!), then how can these ladies be judged fairly when they will not be going against one of the best?

Since I’m not a pro on all things gymnastics, I got on the phone with Olympian Shannon Miller, who is the most decorated gymnast in U.S. history and one part of the ’96 Atlanta Games  “Magnificent 7″.  Shannon, who is an expert analyst for Yahoo Sports, is in London and was there for this exhilarating day.  Read more

Cancer Survivors Look Good, Feel Better with Shannon Miller

Written on October 3, 2011 at 5:05 pm , by

Shannon Miller, right, celebrates at the DreamBall with Robin Roberts, Giada DeLaurentiis and Kelly Ripa. (Photo courtesy of Billy Farrell Agency)

We all remember Shannon Miller for her high-flying feats and beaming smile at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics. So what has she been up to since then? Conquering cancer with style, and helping other women do the same.

Last December, Miller’s doctor discovered a cyst on her ovary during a regular exam that she almost skipped (reminder to get your check-ups!) and had surgery to remove it a few weeks later. It was cancerous, but caught at an early stage. Miller, a mom to a 15-month-old son at the time, completed nine weeks of chemotherapy filled with nausea, hair loss and low energy. That’s where the Look Good…Feel Better (LGFB) program comes in.

LGFB launched in 1988 and has been helping women with cancer improve their self-esteem and quality of life through makeovers that remind participants that they are beautiful inside and out. It’s the only free, worldwide service that teaches those in the midst of cancer treatment that they can have a bit of normalcy back in their lives.

“As a woman, Look Good…Feel Better pulled me out of the sadness of treatment. I was able to focus on being a person again, which when you lose all of your hair—eyebrows and eyelashes included—is hard to do,” Miller says.

Beauty professionals host makeover workshops and webinars focusing on cosmetics, skin and nail treatments and accessories that address specific side effects of cancer so the patients can direct their energy on healing.

“Not every person wants to be asked about their treatment all of the time, and I know that I wanted my son to still be able to recognize me,” Miller explains. “You have to deal with so much when you have cancer—financially, physically, mentally—is makeup and hair important? It is! Your body begins to feel like you’re own again since how you look is a symbol of how you feel.”

Today, besides promoting LGFB (she was honored at the organization’s DreamBall in September, see photo above), Miller is back to work with her wellness company Shannon Miller Lifestyle and just received a clean MRI scan!

Learn more about LGFB and find out if it’s available in your area here.

More from FITNESS: Sweat for a Cure: More Women Who are Making a Difference