Lori Strong (CAN)

Photo used with the expressed permission of Sato Takeo of the OEFC Gymnastics Gallery

1983 Canadian Nationals (Novice) (St. John's, NL): 3rd AA, 3rd V (tie), 4th UB (tie), 4th FX (tie)
1984 Canadian Nationals (Novice) (Waterloo, ON): 2nd AA, 1st V, 2nd UB, 6th BB, 2nd FX
1985 Canadian Nationals (Junior) (Victoria, BC): 1st AA, 2nd V, 1st UB, 1st FX
1986 Canadian Nationals (Chicoutimi, Que): 4th AA, 2nd V, 2nd UB, 4th BB
1987 Canadian Nationals (Winnipeg, MB): 2nd AA (tie), 1st V, 1st UB, 3rd BB, 3rd FX
1987 World Championships: 8th T, 15th AA
1987 Chunichi Cup: 6th AA
1988 Canadian Nationals (Hamilton, ON): 1st AA, 3rd V, 1st UB, 1st BB
1988 Olympics: 11th T, 36th AA
1989 Canadian Nationals (Edmonton, AB): 1st AA, 1st UB, 1st BB, 2nd FX
1989 Cottbus: 3rd AA
1989 World Championships: 6th T, 22nd AA
1990 Commonwealth Games: 1st T, 1st AA, 1st BB, 1st FX
1990 Cottbus: 5th AA (tie)
1991 Canadian Nationals (Saskatoon, SK): 3rd AA, 5th V, 1st UB
1991 World Championships:12th T
1991 Moscow World Stars: 13th AA
1992 World Championships
1992 Moscow World Stars: 15th AA (tie), 7th UB (tie)
1992 Canadian Nationals (Quebec City, Que): 4th AA, 3rd UB, 3rd BB (tie), 5th FX (tie)
1992 Olympic Games: 10th

Results compiled from information provided by Stu Cram of Gym Score Depot and from information found at Gymn Forum

Lori Strong, the Canadian Gymnast of the Decade for the 1990s.

Born September 12, 1972, Lori Strong made the Canadian National Gymnastics team for the first time in 1985, after winning the Canadian Junior National Championships. In doing so she became a carded athlete at the young age of 14. During the next 7 years, Lori competed in more international competitions than many gymnasts. According to Gymnastics Canada Gymnastique, she competed in 21 international invitationals alone.

In 1987, Lori competed in her first World Championships. She placed 15th AA - the highest placement for a Westerner! It was during these World Championships that Lori submitted a unique move on the uneven bars. The skill was accepted by the F.I.G. (International Gymnastics Federation) and officially became known as the "Strong." Later that same year, Lori was recognized with the Elaine Tanner Award. This award recognizes Canada's top female athlete under age 20.

Over the next several years, Lori competed in a Commonwealth Games (were she captured four gold medals), three World Championships, and two Olympic Games. She also developed a second skill that was named after her. This skill, a move on the balance beam, was officially recognized as the "Lori hop." The 1988 Seoul Olympics was Lori's first Olympic experience. Given her successful performance one year earlier in Rotterdam, and given that she was Canada's National Champion leading into the Games, she was considered Canada's best chance in the women's AA. Unfortunately, while performing a 2 1/2 twist punch front (long before the move became popular), she fell and fractured (broke) her leg. Lori's competitive spirit broke through however, and instead of stopping mid-way through her routine she pushed on to the finish. Unfortunately, doctors would not allow Lori to finish the entire competition. She withdrew after three events and finished 36th AA.

By 1992, Lori was nearing the end of her international elite career. Make no mistake though, Lori was certainly not losing steam. That year she was a uneven bars semi-finalist at the 1992 World Championships and member of Canada's Olympic team in Barcelona. While a small mistake prevented her from qualifying to the AA, her skills were world class nevertheless. Indeed, Gymnastics Canada Gymnastique later saluted Lori at their Annual Awards Banquet. Recognition is given to athletes who make a significant contribution to gymnastics over a period of years. A gymnast who accumulates 30 or more points during their international competitive years qualifies for Gold recognition. Points are based on a number of factors including participation in the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Pan American Games, World Championships, and Canadian Championships. In 1997, Lori received Gold level recognition.

Upon retirement from elite competition, Lori accepted a scholarship from the University of Georgia and competed NCAA. She had an impressive career there as well, becoming a seven time All-American. She completed her Senior season as the SEC All Around Champion and as a member of the National Championship team. 

Upon graduating in 1996 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism, Lori did an internship at the 1996 Olympics in baseball broadcasting. She followed this with another internship at the sports department of an ABC affiliate in Atlanta. Throughout this time Lori also coached club gymnastics.

In 1998 she returned to the Georgia Gym Dogs, this time as a volunteer assistant coach. This enabled Lori to spend more time with her then-boyfriend, Steve Ballard. Georgia Gym Dogs may recall that Steve is the brother of former Gym Dogs gymnast Julie Ballard Clark. At the time, Steve was the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the Georgia Gym Dogs.

In November of that same year, while on a trip to New Orleans, Steve proposed to Lori. She and Steve married on August 9, 1999. For photos from the wedding, please visit the Gym Dog Alumni News Page. Following the wedding, the couple decided to leave Georgia and become business partner with Steve's brother and his wife. Lori and Steve managed a Smoothie King outlet in Raleigh, North Carolina (the store specializes in nutritious fruit smoothies, sport supplements, vitamins and minerals, and the like), and on the side Lori coached club gymnastics at Raleigh's Gym Carolina Gymnastics Academy).

Strong-Ballard commentating the 2000 World Cup.
Courtesy of Lex Trotter 

Lori and her husband Steve have one child, daughter Sierra Loren (b. August 15, 2002). The family now lives in Mandeville, LA.

Lori also provides colour commentary for Fox Sport Net's coverage of NCAA gymnastics. Starting with the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Lori replaced Carol Angela Orchard as CBC colour commentator for gymnastics.

Lori Strong was born on 

. This page was created on January 2, 2000 and last updated on November 14, 2003.

 

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