Erica Stokes (USA)

Photo used with the expressed permission of Keith McCaffety, webmaster of the former Web site "My Years Among the Savages."

1989 US Jr. Nationals/US Olympic Festival: 2nd AA
1989 Athens Cup: 1st AA
1990 US Nationals: 4th AA, 2nd(t) UB, 3rd BB
1990 Cup of Athens: 1st AA, 1st UB, 1st BB
1991 World Championships Trials: 6th AA

Majority of esults courtesy of Gymn Forum

An especially active child, Erica was enrolled in dance classes at the tender age of two. It quickly became apparent that Erica liked the tumbling part of classes the best, so Susan (Erica's mother) set out to enroll Erica in tumbling classes. Erica spent the next several years at a local gymnastics club in Kansas. After spending three summers at Karolyi's summer camp, Bela's assistants (Jackie Blake and Rick Newman) announced that they wanted Erica to move to Houston and train at Karolyi's year round. Erica, age ten, returned home and announced the news. She immediately moved to Houston, where she was joined by her parents one year later.

Erica excelled at Karolyi's. She was compared to former Karolyi great Julianne McNamara by the media and labeled as one of the promising Karolyi "six-pack." She placed second at the U.S. Olympic Festival (which, that year, also served as the 1989 U.S. Junior Nationals). Soon thereafter Erica earned her first international assignment: The Athens Cup in Greece. Erica did not disappoint, placing first AA.

With an Olympic Games in her foreseeable future, Erica and her family accepted money from Coca Cola (for appearing in a Minute Maid commercial) and from USGF, eliminating her chances of a NCAA scholarship. Unfortunately, soon thereafter Erica suffered a string of injuries (including a painful fractured heel). Although hampered by a painful heel injury, Erica competed in the 1990 U.S. Nationals. Erica's placements at this meet earned her the spot of alternate to the 1990 Goodwill Games. Unfortunately, while training for these games, Erica's fractured heel broke into pieces.

Injured, and with the 1991 World Championships and 1992 Olympics drawing nearer, Erica's decision to suddenly depart from Karolyi's came as a suprise to many. Following USGF's mandatory ten-day break between gyms, Erica immediately switched to Steve Nunno's gym in Oklahoma. Steve petitioned Erica, who by then was top form, directly to the 1991 World Championships Trials, where she finished in 6th place and presumably was the final member of the 1991 USA World team. However, USGF quickly ruled that Erica would be left off the team because she had missed the 1991 U.S. Nationals. This after USGF approved her petition to World trials?!

By November of 1991, Erica retired from elite gymnastics, returned to Houston, and finished high school. Since retirement from elite gymnastics, Stokes has appeared on talk shows (e.g., Rolanda) and her thoughts and experiences are described in the book Little Girls in Pretty Boxes (LGIPB) discussing some of her challenges with her training, her treatment by her coaches, and her battle with bulimia. Putting these things behind her, Erica found success using her gymnastics as a top level cheerleader including some time as a Houston Oilers Cheerleader. According to IG, Erica graduated from University of Texas in Austin, Texas and moved on to be an intern with Fox Broadcasting.

Erica attended the wedding of her former teammate, Shannon Miller, and last summer was married herself. She's said to be coaching gymnastics now, levels 5/6.

Stokes was born on June 16, 1976

. This page was created on September 30, 1999 and last updated June 2016.

 

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