Julianne McNamara

Julianne McNamara bigraphy, stories - Gymnast

Julianne McNamara : biography

October 11, 1965 –

Julianne Lyn McNamara (born October 11, 1965) is a former American artistic gymnast, who was born to Australian parents. She was the winner of the U.S. women’s first individual event gold medal in Olympic history.

She won the 1980 US all-around title and earned a spot on the Olympic team that boycotted the Moscow Games. A year later, at the World Championships that were coincidentally also held in Moscow, McNamara notched the top U.S. women’s world all-around finish (seventh place) at that point in history. She also earned a bronze medal on bars, seventh on floor and finished fifth on beam—she had entered the beam final in first place but went overtime in the final.

At the 1982 World Cup, Julianne fell off the bars to place eighth all-around. In finals, though, she earned a bronze on vault and a seventh place on beam. At the 1983 world championships, she finished 16th all-around, sixth on vault, and seventh on uneven bars.

In 1982, The Flower Council of Holland, headed by namesake Dutch Queen Juliana, christened the Julianne McNamara rose. At the time, the only other American woman to be so honored was the then U.S. First Lady Nancy Reagan.

The climax of her career was at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. There, she tied Ma Yanhong from China for first on the uneven bars (both gymnasts scored 10.00), won the silver on floor, and placed fourth all-around.

Julianne didn’t retire officially until 1987—though the 1984 Olympics was her last competition. She accomplished a lot in her international career. She really helped put the U.S. women’s team on the map in the early 1980s, and even though she was national All-Around champion only in 1980, she was internationally recognized as the top American gymnast from 1981 to 1984.

Upon her retirement from gymnastics, Julianne embarked on an acting career, appearing in television shows such as Charles in Charge and Knight Rider. She also did color commentary for some television gymnastics coverage. In 1989, she married baseball player Todd Zeile, whom she met while attending UCLA. They have 4 kids.