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The Religious Affiliation of Gold Medal-Winning Olympic Gymnast
Shannon Miller


From: Jill Smolowe, "Don't Call Them Pixies" on Time Magazine website, 1992 Summer Olympics special section (http://www.time.com/time/daily/newsfiles/olympics/summer92/pixies.html; viewed 25 July 2005):
[Kim] Zmeskal thinks an appearance on Arsenio would be cool; all color drains out of [Shannon] Miller's pale complexion when the possibility is mentioned. Both are religious (Zmeskal is Catholic, Miller a Christian Scientist), but it is not a subject either carts out in public.
From: Kirkus Reviews, book review of Shannon Miller: My Child, My Hero, written by Shannon Miller's mother (University of Oklahoma Press, 1999); posted on Amazon.com website (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0806131101/104-7374891-5349566?v=glance&vi=reviews; viewed 25 July 2005):
A proud and devoted mother's overdone portrait of her celebrated gymnast daughter's trials and triumphs. Claudia Miller relates her daughter's progress from jungle-gym-climbing toddler to leader of the first US women's gymnastic team to bring home the Olympic gold. For those who don't know a double twisting Yurchenko from a piked full twisting double back, the particulars of Shannon Miller's gymnastic feats in innumerable competitions quickly become tedious. Of more interest to parents of an exceptional child is the story of the Miller family's efforts to keep one daughter's striking success from having negative effects on her older sister and younger brother. With Shannon's success came tension between her parents and her controlling and demanding coach (by this time, Claudia Miller had trained to become a gymnastics judge, and some second-guessing of the coach was probably inevitable) and difficult decisions concerning agents and money. Recurrent injuries were another problem, especially since the author is a Christian Scientist and her husband a Baptist; for Shannon, Christian Science practitioners and prayer were combined with consultations with physicians, medical treatments, surgery, and physical therapy as needed. Rather surprisingly, Miller barely mentions the controversial weight issue in her discussions of her daughter's health, despite the fact that at age 15 Shannon weighed only 76 pounds. Even allowing for motherly prejudice, the portrait of the young gymnast that emerges is one any parent would be proud of: an outstanding athlete who is also a top student, and someone who makes exceptional demands on herself but is at the same time thoughtful and considerate of others. As an Olympic gymnast, Shannon Miller had the eyes of the world on her, but this overly technical treatment wont put her on the bestseller podium where fellow gymnast Dominique Moceanu once stood.

From: Kathryn Ruffle, Reed Business Information, Inc. Library Journal book review of Shannon Miller: My Child, My Hero, written by Shannon Miller's mother (University of Oklahoma Press, 1999); posted on Amazon.com website (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0806131101/104-7374891-5349566?v=glance&vi=reviews; viewed 25 July 2005):

Shannon Miller, multi-medal-winning gymnast at both the 1992 Barcelona and 1996 Atlanta Olympics, is the subject of this memoir written by her mother. While such a book could have become overbearing, Miller is instead gracious toward rivals, teammates, and the many who helped Shannon and temperate when discussing spats with coaches. In Kerri Strug's autobiography Landing on My Feet (LJ 11/1/97), readers came to understand a gymnast's terrific drive and sacrifices. In this book, we see how these sacrifices can affect an athlete's parents and siblings. Also interesting are the Millers' religious beliefs as Christian Scientists, mother and daughter used prayer and the writings of Mary Baker Eddy to make decisions, even medical ones. Despite Shannon's fame and achievements, there is not a trace of superiority complex here. A solid addition to gymnastics collections in public libraries.
From: Tom Heinen, "New governor practices quiet faith: Christian Science's democratic tenets guide McCallum" in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9 February 2001 (http://www.jsonline.com/lifestyle/religion/feb01/scott09020801a.asp; viewed 26 August 2005):
But many might be surprised to know that Christian Science has had its share of famous adherents. A few examples:
...
- Olympic gymnast Shannon Miller.

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Webpage created 25 July 2005. Last modified 26 August 2005.
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