St. Martin’s Press sent me a review copy of It’s Not About Perfect: Competing For My Country and Fighting For My Life by Shannon Miller with Danny Peary.
It’s available today – April 21, 2015 – in hard cover, Kindle, audio and MP3 CD.
It’s Shannon’s life story, so far. An autobiography. Inspirational. Ideal for teenage gymnasts and fans of women’s Gymnastics.
Shannon Miller … the winner of a combined total of 16 World Championships and Olympic medals between 1991 and 1996, Miller ranks as the most decorated gymnast, male or female, in U.S. history. …
Rather than dwell on the many successes, one of the greatest in the history of the sport spends more time detailing when things went wrong. And how she reacted to those setbacks.
“Don’t judge me by my successes but rather how many times I fell and got back up again.”
I enjoyed reading of her childhood. The used $100 backyard trampoline. Her first coach, Jerry Clavier. How Gary Goodson failed Shannon on her first USAIGC testing. Her first USAIGC and Karolyi camps. The first time Shannon ever flew on a plane. It was to Russia. At age-9.
Steve Nunno was on that trip, as well. Later Shannon moved from her non-competitive gym to Dynamo. Steve later hired Peggy Liddick.
Steve Nunno was a very controversial coach. Loud, arrogant and egotistical. But I’ve never heard Shannon Miller say a bad word about him. For her he was the ideal coach. This book is filled with stories of her many wonderful experiences with him and Peggy.
As an young gymnast, Shannon had very few injuries. But she did dislocate her elbow after hitting her feet on a flyaway full twist.
Astonishingly, Shannon once had a balking problem on flyaway. And later a balking problem on Tkachev. If it can happen to Shannon Miller, it can happen to anyone.
She competed the 1992 Olympics on a broken foot. Yet hit 16/16. Her goal.
After returning to Oklahoma from the Barcelona Games she enjoyed 3 days off. She’d only expected 1 day rest.
“I never considered myself the most talented or exciting gymnast but I could outwork anybody.”
By the 1996 Atlanta Olympics she had grown six inches, gained thirty pounds. Though still a tiny person, the sport was more difficult.
She looks back on her career as having two peaks: 5 medals at the 1992 Olympics and her success at the next two World Championships.
“The other peak was at the 1996 Olympics, when I won gold medals as part of the team and on balance beam. The two peaks corresponded to the two separate parts of my competitive career, based on my having two distinct body types and there being two different Codes of Points.”
Click PLAY or watch her Beam from the 1994 Worlds AA on YouTube.
One day a long retired Shannon Miller walked into Steve’s office at the Dynamo Gym and asked: “Do you want to train me for the 2000 Olympics?”
That third failed Olympic run was perhaps the most interesting of the three for me. She’s proud of the effort. Shannon’s philosophy:
• Set goals.
• Put in the work if you want results.
• Utilize mistakes as a way to learn and grow.
• Eliminate negative thoughts (and, when possible, negative people).
• Search for the positive in the negative.
• Don’t place limits on yourself.
• Accept help from others.
• Never give up and, most of all, believe in yourself.
She only very briefly mentions her failed first marriage in 1999 to Christopher B. Phillips. He was the second man she dated, a medical student at the University of Oklahoma.
Her second husband is John Falconetti. They married August 25, 2008. They have two children.
The Shannon Miller Foundation, dedicated to fighting childhood obesity, launched in 2007.
Shannon Miller Lifestyle: Health and Fitness for Women launched July 4, 2010.
Someone so healthy getting cancer was a shocker for me and everyone who knew Shannon Miller. It was a rare kind of ovarian cyst.
She had surgery in January 2011. In March 2011 began a 9-week regimen of chemotherapy.
In July 2011, her doctor gave a clean bill of health. She was cancer-free.
Like many celebrities over the past few years, Shannon documented her progress fighting cancer online. Her hope is that more people will schedule all their recommended medical treatments.
Bottom line. I recommend this book.
• Shannon’s other books
• Anna Rose Johnson interview with Shannon on the book: “I hope it’s something that will inspire others”