By CATHY HARASTA The Dallas Morning News
Bela-force pushes gymnast past limit
The way Bela Karolyi saw it, you go for two.
He will be second-guessed for the rest of the Atlanta Games, maybe forever, but gymnastics was a team sport on this historic Tuesday evening. It was not just any medal, but a team . A team gold medal for a nation that had never won one in women's gymnastics.
So when Kerri Strug sprained her left ankle on the next-to-last vault in the final rotation, Karolyi did not stop her from vaulting once more."The team was a team formed by very strong personalities," he later would say.
What he did not say was that his personality prevailed, with the force of brass knuckles. Bela-force pushed gymnastics to this point, and, by gum, it would not let up now.
Karolyi did not stop Strug, though she told him she was unable to feel any sensation in her left leg after landing her first vault."She is a tough girl," he said. "This is toughness. We needed the second vault." He needed it.