Kimberly Lynn Zmeskal (Burdette), U.S. Gymnast/Coach was born February 6, 1976 in Houston, Texas. As a young girl, Kim was one of the first to sign up for gymnastics classes under the tutilage of coaching great Bela Karolyi who had recently bought a run-down gym in her Houston neighbourhood. An energetic child of parents David and Clarice, it was a natural choice that she join a gynmastics class.
Attending classes Kim had the opportunity to closely observe and interact with her heroine, Mary Lou Retton. Her assests were unyielding determination and ability to focus under stressful situations. Although she was sometimes criticised by coach Karolyi for a lack of discipline, she had the uncanny ability to rise to the occasion when it counted.
In 1989, at the age of 13, Kim became the U.S. Junior National Champion. This was to be the start of her rise to the top of the gymnastics world. Before the year was out she had also taken first place in the American Classic, the Swiss Cup Mixed Pairs (with Lance Ringnald), and the Arthur Gander Memorial.
Proving her ability to excel was not a fluke, in 1991, Kim became the first American gymnast, (male or female) to win the all-around title at the World Gymnastics Championships in Indianapolis, IN. (vault: 9.962, uneven bars: 9.937, beam: 9.962, floor: 9.987). Thwarting critics that had said that Kim had won the championship title only because the competition was held in the United States, Kim turned out gold medal performances at the Individual Apparatus Championships in Paris.
Naturally, Zmeskal was endowed with American hopes for its first team gold medal and a plethora of gold medals in the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games. Unfortunately, Kim would fall of the beam during her routine during the first night of competition. Although after a magical rebound performance on the floor, vault, and bars, Kim was in 32nd place after the compulsories and 5th on the American team.
With impressive scores of 9.912 on beam, 9.95 on vault, 9.9 on uneven bars, and a crowd pleasing 9.925 on floor, Kim rocketed into 12th place and into the all-around competition by finishing third among the American women. Her combined score of 39.687 for the night was the highest of any competitor, even Shannon Miller.
Although reaching the all-around competition, Kim would falter during her floor exercise, stepping out of bounds. It would later be revealed that Kim was suffering from a stress fracture in her ankle before the Olympics began. Zmeskal however, did not use this as an excuse for her performance.
Her dreams for a comeback in Atlanta during the 1996 Olympic Games would be dashed due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her right knee suffered during a floor exercise.
Zmeskal retired from competition in 2000 from injuries. In 1999, she married coach Chris Burdette whom she had met during a clinic. Zmeskal now spends time with her husband, speaking and coaching, and had recently opened a coaching program in Coppell, Texas for girls who wish to follow in her footsteps.