November 21, 2011
Former U.S. Olympian Gymnast Talks Life With Group At MOSI
In the late 1960s into the early 1970s, the name Cathy Rigby was synonymous with gymnastics and American pride. Rigby was the face United States in gymnastics during this time, and she was blessed with success in the sport. Rigby cannot be defined as just a gymnast. She has lived an interesting life and she shared an in-depth account of her sports career, her personal life and her second career as an actor at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) earlier this month.
“At 15, my life as I knew it had changed dramatically,” said Rigby on her experience at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. “For the first time in my life, people wanted to hear my opinions, but the funny thing was I didn’t have any.”
She became the first American women to win a medal in a world gymnastics completion when she won the silver medal in 1968. She had put U.S. gymnastics on the map, and because of this, she was receiving a lot of attention from the media and from the completion. She explained to the audience how daunting this was for a shy 15-year-old girl. Rigby gave a firsthand account of how difficult popularity and media exposure can be for young athletes.
Rigby shared the ups and downs of her gymnastics career and the pressure of succeeding in her competitions after winning the silver medal.
“There is a short lifespan of a gymnastics career and I retired at the ripe old age of 19,” said Rigby. In such a short time, Rigby impacted the gymnastics world and won 12 medals in competition.
Upon her retiring from competing in gymnastics, Rigby went on to be a commentator for gymnastics on television. Also, Rigby began an acting career that is still continuing to this day. She is best known for her role on the stage as Peter Pan, where she was nominated for a Tony Award.
Rigby shared in her presentation, which was appropriately named “Finding the Balance,” her keys for success in life and how to overcome eating disorders. Rigby herself struggled with an eating disorder for many years.
“Problems don’t disappear because you ignore them,” said Rigby. “You never know what will happen in your life.”
Rigby stressed the importance of overcoming problems and striving to balance everything in one’s life to become successful and make it through tough times.
For more information about Cathy Rigby’s current acting career, visit www.mccoyrigby.com.