Where Are They Now? Olympic Gymnast Kerri Strug



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Issue #37

NEW YORK, NY – A single look at Kerri Strug, the darling of the 2000 Summer Games, and one can't help but marvel at the transformation. The girl who once used grace and agility to soar onto a Wheaties box is now a grown woman, waddling around her failed Times Square fast food business.

     "They said hot dogs would sell on 42nd Street," she laments, while looking across the street at another business in the red, Planet Hollywood. In the Fall of 2001, Strug used her clout as a star athlete to gain backing for her own hot dog restaurant near the Great Wide Way. However, after fighting a dirty and unsuccessful war against local favorites Gray's Papaya and the Papaya King (not to mention the street vendors), Strug found herself with a stockpile of hot dogs that no one wanted.

     "I just started to eat," explains the former gymnast, who ballooned from her competitive weight of 86 pounds to about 190 pounds during the course of just a few months. "I told myself, ‘Kerri, you can't let this food go to waste. There's kids starving in Africa.' So of course I started eating all the franks, one after the other."

     It was not long before Strug's weight ballooned. "The next thing I knew, I was keeping the doorway greased just so that I could slip in and out of the restaurant. I'm working on my weight ... maybe if more people come in there will be less for me to eat and I'll lose weight."

     Of course, her efforts to be an entrepreneur would've got nowhere without longtime mentor Bella Karolyi. "Bella has always been close to my heart, encouraging me and saying ‘you can do it Kerri,' even when things looked their bleakest."

     She's not kidding, Strug is believed to be carrying Karolyi somewhere in her sweatpants. Although Kerri denies the possibility that the coach may be stuck under the folds of her flab, Karolyi's family has been pleading for her to check her pants. "We think he tried to hug her and .... somehow he got caught in a riptide of fat," explains Karolyi's son Florin.

     "I've reported it to the police, but no judge will grant them a warrant to search her pants. I mean, she's Kerri Strug. That still counts for something."

     "That stuff about Bella is just one of those urban myths," says Strug, her belly jiggling and some muffled murmurings emanating from her pants.

Luscious Rosenbaum will be exploring Olympic medalist Paul Wylie's foray into Broadway ushering on 42nd Street for next week's issue.

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