Biography: BORDEN, Amanda

BORDEN, Amanda

Inducted: 1998 – Olympic Gold medal team, (1996)
Individually Inducted – 2006 Born: May 10, 1977 Cincinnati, Ohio

It was time to choose a Captain for the 1996 Women’s Olympic Gymnastics Team. Amanda Borden stepped up and placed her vote for Shannon Miller in the “hat”. The votes were counted. There was one for Shannon Miller and the rest for Amanda Borden. It was a defining point in her life, one she will never forget, and, according to Coach Karolyi, a defining moment “ . . . when the seven girls blended together to make a remarkable team.”  Women’s Artistic Gymnastics was introduced into the Olympics in 1928. For five decades the Soviet Union or the Unified States, as the new team was called after the ’90’s political changes, dominated the gymnastic venue according to Bart Conner narrating the TV documentary, The Magnificent Seven. Then along came Amanda Borden and her six comrades. To her, they were heroes all. She was surprised at her designation as team Captain mostly because she was the least experienced and perhaps hadn’t won as many medals as her teammates. All of the team members had shown determination and perseverance, but there is something unique to everyone, and Amanda exuded an aura of presence and maturity beyond her years. When competition time came, it was she, as the team leader, who calmed her friend, Dominique Dawes, just before entering the arena. The team chose well, and Amanda did not let any given assignment fail. She was an infallible asset to the “Magnificent Seven’s” rise to the top of the podium.

Getting Started: Amanda Borden began gymnastic training in 1984 under coach Mary Lee Tracy at the Cincinnati Gymnastics Academy. Her courage to perform and ability to learn quickly led to her being named to the U.S. National Team six times, (1990 & fiscal years 1992-’97). Olympic Games: Team member, Barcelona, Spain, (1991)*; Gold-Team, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, (1996). The performance and success of the 1996 Women’s Olympic Team led to their epithet “The Magnificent Seven” since this team won the first ever Women’s Olympic Gymnastics Team Gold Medal. Amanda was elected Captain of the team by her teammates, an honor that may not fit on her wall but will always be in her mind. *Borden made the team at the 1991 Olympic trials, but in this changed world of team selection since the ‘60’s, she was “bumped” and did not attend. While it is true that she had been recovering from an injury during most of 1991, that wasn’t the full reason she did not make the trip. Amanda speculates that she had a reputation of not doing well under pressure. This idea turned out to be a false impression in as she demonstrated in 1996; nevertheless, two more experienced gymnasts substituted for her. World Championships: Team member (A), Birmingham, Great Britain, (1993); Team member & UB event finalist, Brisbane, Australia, (1994); Silver-Team, Dortmund, Germany, (1994). Pan American Games: Gold-Team & BB, Silver-AA & FX, Mar del Plata, Argentina, (1995). Chunichi Cup, Team member, Nagoya, Japan, 1993. Pacific Alliance Championships: Silver-Team, Seoul, Democratic Republic of Korea, (1992). Tokyo Cup: Bronze-UB, Tokyo, Japan, (1993). Hilton Challenge: Gold-Team, Los Angeles, California-USA, (1993); Gold-Team, Phoenix, Arizona-USA, (1994). U.S. Classic: Gold-FX, Knoxville, Tennessee-USA, (1992); Silver-AA, Bronze-V (T), UB (T), Silver-BB, Colorado Springs, Colorado USA, (1996). Coca-Cola National Championships: Bronze-AA, UB, & FX, Nashville, Tennessee-USA, (1994). Education: Amanda graduated from Finneytown High School where she was not only the Homecoming Queen; she was a member of the “A” honor roll, the National Honor Society, and the Spanish National Honor Society. She earned a B.S. summa cum laude in early childhood education from Arizona State University (ASU). She was unable to compete for ASU since she was ineligible under NCAA rules, having gained professional athlete status from promotional work and television appearances. Honors: Amanda was pictured on the Wheaties box with her teammates, the “Magnificent Seven”; Chosen to demonstrate the new 1996 women’s compulsories at the 1991 World Gymnastics Championships in Indianapolis; Named the USAG Sportswoman of the Year, (1995); Honored as one of the “Ten Outstanding Young Cincinnatians” by the Cincinnati branch of the Jaycees; Nominated by the Cincinnati Jaycees, she was a runner-up for the national “Ten Outstanding Young Americans,” (2000); Received the Pop Warner Female Achievement Award, (2003). Getting Along: After retiring from competition, Amanda opened Amanda Borden Gold Medal Gymnastics Academy, Tempe, Arizona in May 2004. Web site: . Her educational preparation and skills on the apparatus make a perfect combination for teaching young people the rudiments of gymnastics and to help those with high aspirations achieve what it takes to reach the elite level.  She continues to hone her broadcasting skills as an expert commentator for gymnastics and cheerleading for CBS, Fox Sport, Turner Broadcasting, and ESPN. Family: Engaged to Brad Cochran, a student at ASU and a P/T coach at the gym.

Sources: Jerry Wright, author of Gymnastics Who’s Who, 2005, , , for public domain information only, & . Readers should visit these sites for additional information. Introduction, commentary, & formatting by Dr. Larry Banner, Web Manager & 1993 HOF Inductee.