Kristie Phillips-Bannister is either the only woman gymnast or at least only one of a small number of women gymnasts to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Unfortunately, the poor luck or mojo that mystically seems to come with the honor rode Kristie’s shoulders right into the Olympic Trials for the Seoul Olympics. However, with the worst disappointment and subsequent apparent withdrawal from gymnastics, Kristie rose like the Phoenix to regain her reputation as a very strong gymnast. Hats off to you, Kristie. Glad you made it back and life is good. You learned from the lessons of life that all needn’t ever be truly lost.
Kristie Phillips began her gymnastics career in her home state of Louisiana, but soon transferred to train for a while at the Atlanta School of Gymnastics. As her skills began to improve, she again made a move, beginning to train at Karolyi’s Gymnastics, (1984). By 1988 Kristie could be found training with the SCATS program in California, (1988), but she returned to Karolyi’s before the Seoul Olympics. Kristie missed making the 1988 Olympic team by only tenths of a point. Kristie Phillips had appeared on the covers of Sports Illustrated, People, USA Gymnastics and International Gymnast in 1986-87, and this pre-Olympic notoriety had to have had a profound effect on her as she competed to make the ’88 team. She had accomplished so much through long hours of hard training that the letdown after the ’88 Olympic Trials where she finished 8th almost ended her competitive career at age 15 even though she was named 2nd alternate. At the end of the first portion of her competition years, Kristie was only 17 years of age. She dropped out of the gymnastics world, but there was more to come as she clearly divided her gymnastics accomplishments into two separate time periods. Competitor – PartOne: Louisiana State Class II children’s division: Gold-AA, (1982); Canadian Classic: Silver-FX, Bronze-UB, (1984); Jr. American Classic: 12th AA; Peachtree Classic-Children’s Division: Gold-AA, UB, & BB, Silver-FX, (1984); Avignon International: Gold-FX, (1985); Jr. American Classic “B”: Bronze-AA, (1985); U.S. Championships-Children’s Division: Gold-AA, (1985); American Cup: Gold-AA, (1986); Canadian Classic: Gold-AA, V, UB, & FX, (1986); Intl. Mixed Pairs: Silver-Team; Jr. American Classic: Gold-AA, (1986); Jr. US Championships: Gold-AA, (1986); US Olympic Festival: Gold-AA, V, BB, & FX, (1986); USA-CHN Dual Meet: Silver-AA & FX, (1986); World Sports Fair: Silver-V, (1986); American Cup: Gold-AA, BB, Silver-FX, Bronze-V & UB, (1987); Intl. Mixed Pairs: 4th Team; USA-USSR Dual Meet: Silver-Team, Gold-AA & BB, Bronze-FX, (1987); US Classic: Gold-AA, (1987); US Championships: Gold-AA, BB, & FX, Silver-V& UB, (1987). US Nationals: Silver-BB, (1988). Kristie also competed for the U.S. in two major international meets during this time period as follows: WorldChampionships: Team member, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, (1987); PanAmericanGames: Gold-Team & FX, Silver-AA, Bronze-V, Indianapolis, Indiana, (1987). And then came the crushing ’88 Olympic Trials. After the 1988 disappointment, Kristie went to Louisiana St. University on an academic scholarship. She was continuing to use her skills of movement. Education: Attended Louisiana State University and was a member of the cheerleading squad. CareerTime: Phillips moved to New York to pursue a career in acting and starred in a 1994 film called “Spitfire”, and also worked as a stunt person for TV shows. Competitor – PartTwo: After an 11-year absence from competitive gymnastics Kristie Phillips-Bannister made an amazing comeback as follows: Reese’s International Cup: Gold-AA, BB and Silver-UB, (1996); Reese’s International Cup: Silver- AA, (1997); Reese’s International Cup: 5th Team (with Jessica Davis), (1998); Reese’s International Cup: Bronze-AA, (1998); Region VII Elite Zone Meet: Silver-FX, Bronze-AA & BB, (1998); US Classic: 15th AA; US Championships: 23rd AA, (1998); US Championships: 24th AA, (2000). Kristie also turned her attention to judging and coaching. She is currently (2007) a Brevet Judge and owns her own gymnastics training facility, KPAC, in North Carolina. Family: (m) Horatio Bannister, a singer and songwriter. They have 2 miniature pinschers: Cello and Chambers.
Sources: Jerry Wright, author of Gymnastics Who’s Who, 2005, furnished the majority of data and photos. Public records were used to find or confirm all results. Introduction, commentary, and formatting by Dr. Larry Banner, Web Manager.