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Kristie Phillips
Phillips kristie 1988 us olympic trials.jpg
Phillips at the 1988 US Olympic Trials

Country represented

Flag of the United States of America.png United States of America


March 23 1972 (1972-03-23) (age 49)
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

Years on National Team

1984-1988, 1996-1997


Karolyi's Gymnastics; Parkettes National Gymnastics Center, SCATS (former)


Bela & Marta Karolyi; Bill & Donna Strauss, Don Peters (former)

Current status


Kristie Phillips-Bannister (born on March 23, 1972), formerly known as Kristie Phillips, is a retired American elite gymnast. The 1987 senior U.S. National Champion and one of the American team's strongest and most visible competitors in the mid-1980s, Phillips was considered to be one of the front-runners for the 1988 U.S. Olympic team. By the Olympic Trials in 1988, however, she had endured several coaching changes and a growth spurt, and was only named second alternate to the team. She went on to participate in competitive cheerleading in college and has since enjoyed successful careers as an actress, stunt woman, coach and gymnastics club owner.

Early Life

Phillips was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She began gymnastics in her home state at the age of 4. At 10, she was the children's all-around gold medalist at the Louisiana State Championships. As she excelled in the sport, she moved to the Atlanta School of Gymnastics, and to Houston, Texas to train with Bela Karolyi. She also trained at Parkettes in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Junior Career

As a junior, Phillips was one of the United States' top-ranking athletes in both national and international competition. From 1985 to 1987, she placed first in the all-around in every single American competition she entered, including the 1986 American Classic, the 1986 U.S. Olympic Festival and the 1987 U.S. Classic. At her first U.S. National Championships in 1985, Phillips won the all-around title in the junior division; she repeated her success the following year, despite competing with a broken wrist.

Phillips made her debut in international competition at the age of 12, at the 1984 Canada Classic, where she won a silver medal on the floor exercise, a bronze on the uneven bars and placed seventh in the all-around. She continued to do well in international meets over the next three years, placing sixth at the prestigious 1986 City of Popes, winning a vault silver medal at the 1986 World Sports Fair and earning the all-around gold at the 1986 American Cup.

By 1986, Phillips was considered to be one of the United States' best hopes for a medal at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, and was the subject of a considerable amount of media attention. At the age of fourteen, she was featured on the cover of the September 1, 1986 issue of Sports Illustrated magazine, which touted her as "The New Mary Lou" (in reference to Mary Lou Retton). She was also interviewed for the 1987 ABC-TV documentary Olga, Nadia and Mary Lou.

Senior Career

As Phillips moved into the senior ranks in 1987, she appeared to be on track for the Seoul Olympics. At that year's national championships, she won her only senior all-around title. She earned an all-around silver medal at the 1987 Pan Am Games, placed first all-around at the USA vs. USSR dual meet, and won her second American Cup. Phillips was also nominated for the 1987 James E. Sullivan Award.

However, a growth spurt, the onset of puberty and conflicts with her coaches derailed Phillips' Olympic ambitions in 1987. She briefly switched to SCATS in California to train with former Olympian Don Peters, however, she was unable to maintain her previous level of gymnastics.

Phillips was able to earn a berth on the American team for the 1987 World Championships, but only placed 45th in the all-around at the meet. She did, however, successfully submit an original balance beam mount, described as a "Press to side handstand, front walkover to side stand on both legs." The skill is now referred to as "the Phillips" in the Code of Points and currently has a 'D' difficulty rating. Another balance beam skill associated with Phillips was a reverse planche, in which the gymnast arches her back from a handstand until her buttocks touch the top of her head.

In 1988, Phillips returned to the Karolyis. She placed 9th at the U.S. Nationals that spring. At the Olympic Trials, she moved up one place to 8th and was named as the second alternate to the U.S. Olympic team. She trained with the squad in America, but did not travel with them to Seoul.

After Gymnastics

Phillips attended Louisiana State University from 1990 to 1992, where she was a competitive cheerleader and a Delta Gamma sister. After college, she moved to New York City where she coached gymnastics and performed in various film and television projects, including 1994's Spitfire (a straight-to-video 007-spoof).

Throughout the mid-1990s, Phillips participated in the Reese's Cup, a televised elite gymnastics exhibition, where she continued to wow audiences with her unique brand of artistry. In 1999, she returned to the world of elite competitive gymnastics, placing 23rd at that year's U.S. National Championships. That year, Kristie was also named USA Gymnastics Sportswoman of the Year. She competed at the US Nationals again in 2000, placing 24th, before retiring.

Phillips lives in Troutman, North Carolina with her husband recording artist Horatio Bannister and three children: Sebastian, Isabella and Eberlie. She owns a gymnastics facility in Statesville, North Carolina, and is certified as an International Brevet judge. She was Athlete Representative for USA Gymnastics, and served in the same capacity for the 2008 U.S Olympic gymnastics team selection committee. She has spoken about her experiences in gymnastics on several occasions, most recently in the 2003 CNN documentary Achieving The Perfect 10. She was inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2006.

Medal Count

ear Event TF AA VT UB BB FX
1984 Junior U.S. Classic 9
Canadian Classic 7 3rd 2nd
1985 Junior American Classic 3rd
Junior U.S. Classic 1st
U.S. Junior National Championships 1st
City of Popes 6 5 5 1st
1986 Junior American Classic 1st
U.S. Junior National Championships 1st
U.S. Olympic Festival 1st 1st 1st 1st
USA-CHN Dual Meet 2nd 4 6 2nd
McDonald's American Cup 1st
International Mixed Pairs 2nd
World's Sports Fair 5 2nd
Canadian Classic 1st 1st 1st 6 1st
1987 U.S. Classic 1st
U.S. National Championships 1st 2nd 3rd 1st 1st
McDonald's American Cup 1st 3rd 3rd 1st 3rd
USSR-USA Challenge 1st 5 5 1st 3rd
Indiapolis Pan American Games 1st 2nd 3rd 1st
Rotterdam World Championships 6 45
1988 U.S. National Championships 9 2nd
US Olympic Trials 8 8 2nd 6
1996 International Gymnastics Cup 1st 2nd 1st 4
1997 International Gymnastics Cup 2nd

Floor Music

1986 - "Nutrocker" by B Bumble and the Stingers

1987-1988 - "Tsigany (Gypsies)" by Moiseyev Dance Ensemble

2000 - "Desiree", "Hello", "These Boots Were Made for Walking", "For What it's Worth", "We Will Rock You"

U.S. National Champions
Donna Schanezer | Muriel Grossfeld • Marie Walther • Gail Daley | Doris Fuchs • Donna Schanezer | Linda Metheny • Carolyn Hacker • Linda Scott | Linda Metheny • Joyce Tanac • Cathy Rigby | Linda Metheny • Joan Moore Gnat | Cathy Rigby • Joan Moore Gnat • Tammy Manville • Denise Cheshire | Robin Huebner • Donna Turnbow • Kathy Johnson • Leslie Pyfer • Julianne McNamaraTracee Talavera • Dianne Durham • Mary Lou Retton • Sabrina Mar • Jennifer Sey • Kristie PhillipsPhoebe MillsBrandy JohnsonKim ZmeskalShannon MillerDominique DawesDominique MoceanuShannon MillerVanessa Atler | Kristy PowellKristen MaloneyElise RayTasha SchwikertCourtney KupetsCourtney Kupets | Carly PattersonNastia LiukinShawn JohnsonBridget SloanRebecca BrossJordyn WieberSimone BilesRagan SmithSimone Biles

American Cup Champions
Nadia ComăneciKathy Johnson • Natalia Tereschenko • Stella ZakharovaTracee TalaveraJulianne McNamara | Zoja GrancharovaMary Lou RettonKristie PhillipsPhoebe MillsBrandy JohnsonKim ZmeskalBetty OkinoKim ZmeskalShannon MillerDominique DawesKristy PowellKerri StrugElvire TezaViktoria KarpenkoJennie ThompsonElena ProdunovaElena ZamolodchikovaTasha SchwikertCarly PattersonAlicia Sacramone (VT) | Chellsie Memmel (UB) | Zhang Nan-Nastia Liukin (BB) | Patricia Moreno (FX) • Nastia LiukinShawn JohnsonNastia LiukinJordyn WieberRebecca BrossJordyn WieberKatelyn OhashiElizabeth PriceSimone BilesGabby DouglasRagan SmithMorgan HurdLeanne WongMorgan Hurd