Kimberly Lynn Zmeskal Burdette is an American retired artistic gymnast, who was a national champion, world champion, and an Olympic bronze medalist. She currently coaches gymnastics and co-owns Texas Dreams Gymnastics in Coppell, Texas, with her husband Chris Burdette.
From a young age, Zmeskal trained with coaching great Béla Károlyi, who had bought a run-down gym in Zmeskal's Houston neighborhood. This gave Zmeskal the opportunity to observe and interact with her heroine, Mary Lou Retton. In 1989, at the age of 13, Zmeskal became the U.S. Junior National Champion. She also took first place in the American Classic, the Swiss Cup Mixed Pairs, and the Arthur Gander Memorial. Zmeskal went on to become a three-time consecutive U.S. National Champion. In international events, she began a rivalry with the Soviet Union's Svetlana Boginskaya.
At the 1991 World Championships in Indianapolis, the team silver medal was a first for the Americans, and Zmeskal became the first American to achieve the World all-around gold medal. Having recently become world champion, Americans had high hopes for Zmeskal and the U.S. team heading the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games. In the U.S. National Championships and Olympic Trials, Zmeskal battled an emerging Shannon Miller, with Miller defeating Zmeskal at the Trials.
Battling several setbacks in competition, including a fall off the balance beam, Zmeskal finished 10th in the all-around final, and later finished 8th in the vault final and 6th in the floor final. It would later be revealed that Zmeskal was suffering from a stress fracture in her ankle before the Olympics began.
Any dreams for a comeback to compete in the 1996 Olympic Games would be dashed due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her right knee suffered during a floor exercise. In 1998, Zmeskal returned to competition with a decent showing at the U.S. National Championships in Indianapolis and was later considered a possibility for the 2000 Olympics team, but a torn achilles tendon on a double tuck on floor ended her career that year.
In 2000, Zmeskal married coach Chris Burdette, whom she had met during a clinic. They wed at Karolyi's Ranch. Zmeskal now spends time with her husband, speaking and coaching, and opened a coaching program in Coppell, Texas entitled Texas Dreams Gymnastics. She has coached multiple US National Team athletes. The Burdettes have three children.
Zmeskal was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in May 2012.
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