In the late 1990’s I was part of a mentoring program USA Gymnastics had begun for the Women’s National Team. Former US National Team members dating as far back as the Olympic Teams from the 1960’s, gathered together to kick off the program’s inaugural year. During our time, a few people were asked to tell about their gymnastics experience. I was the only African-American in the room and was asked to share as well. So, I told them about my career and the struggles I faced, which were quite different from what the others had experienced.

Upon hearing of the very different background I had come from, the entire room stared at me in disbelief. Each of these former elite gymnasts had worked endlessly to acquire the status of US National Team Member, but they all agreed that they could not imagine having to withstand the pressures of the sport and the types of pressures I had to face outside the gym. Sharon Shapiro, former UCLA gymnast and fellow Hall of Fame Inductee sat me down and told me, “You really need to write a book.” She also offered to help me any way she could. Sharon’s encouragement was enough to get me started.

In 2001, I was asked to speak at the Ft. Lauderdale Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast. John Tesh was the keynote speaker and my assignment was to briefly share, how I became a Christian and how my life was changed as a result. For days, as I prepared for my talk I sat with pen in hand, scribbling out thoughts that ended up crumpled in the wastebasket.

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Then one night I woke up around 2:00 a.m. with various scenes from my early life racing through my mind. As I searched, in the dark, for a pen and paper, it dawned on me how some of my childhood experiences had a negative impact on my current view of self. Thankfully, it was my relationship with God that had given me a new perspective on life and I was able to thrive instead of just survive. This ended up becoming the core of the message I would be sharing at the Breakfast.

Though I felt it was not at all spectacular, the response to my five-minute life story was overwhelming. God used this brief narrative of my changed life, to stir the hearts of some 2,000 people who were not even involved in gymnastics. Following the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, I began receiving requests to speak at various events around the city. The guests at these events always felt encouraged by my story and many times they would approach me afterwards and ask where they could buy my book. For several years, I watched them walk away disappointed, because they were eager to read the rest of the story, but it had not been written yet. However, with consistent prodding and support from my husband, I’m happy to say that the rest of the story is now in print. It took quite a bit of time and effort, but it has been well worth it.

It is my desire that my story will encourage and inspire everyone who reads it, to persevere through pain so they can realize their God-given purpose.




"Please give my best to Kim for an outstanding book. I try to read about 20 books a year, and this ranges in the top 2-3 ever, she had great ability to tell it like it was, I am sure it was tuff writing that and could see why it took so long to complete, I love to read about people with great inter-strength and high compete levels, and she certainly has both… (I) started the book on Sunday pm and finished it on Monday am…very interesting and my wife really enjoyed it."

"Kim, Your book really helped me to look on the bright side of things and see that God has a plan that I cannot fathom right now, but it is a plan to prosper me in ways that I cannot even imagine… thank you for sharing your story because it has truly given me hope at the right time, God's time!"


Mrs. Kim, I am sooo much in love with your book and I have only just begun to read it...u are truly a inspiration to not only athletes, but for every young black woman alive.

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"Hi Kim! Just wanted you to know that I SO enjoyed reading your book. Thanks for your vulnerable passion for God, and for personal growth, and challenging the reader... I so appreciated every word, and every challenge. (My Daughter) is reading your book now, and has been SO encouraged by your story. She's not a "reader", but she is devouring your book! Thank you, Kim, for all of your hard work, perseverance, and fortitude."

"Hi Kim, I finally got a chance to sit down and read your inspiring book. Thank you for sharing so much of your personal experiences. I can't begin to put into words how much I admire you past, present and future."

"Hey Kim, I just finished reading the book - so I was one of those people that couldn't put it down once I started. 
The book touched me in a lot of ways because I can visualize a lot of the places that you spoke about in Richmond and at UCLA and your writing painted such a clear picture of those circumstances. The gymnastics sections were very engaging -- I felt my pulse racing as you described the scenes of your routines and my reading sped up to find out how you did. I even searched on youtube to find footage of your routines.
I'm sure that I'll have more reflections as I think about the book and your story, but I wanted to at least let you know that I finished it."

"I love your story."

"Hi Kim! I finished your book and I have to say that I loved it! I just gave it to a friend of mine to read, too. My daughter and I just watched your floor routine on You Tube… AMAZING is first adjective that comes to mind! You were definitely blessed with a wonderful gift, but the way you have chosen to live your life is even more amazing."

"Hi Kim, I just finished reading your book and wanted you to know how deep and positive an impression it made on me. I was moved by the honesty, the introspection and your gift with words."

"Dearest Kim, A few pages into the book, I realized that I needed a box of tissues at hand. I could not put the book down once I began reading. This was a most heart touching message and a true story of a strong little girl who fought many battles (mostpeople would have given up) alone and still attained success. Thank you so much for writing this book."

"Kim, I’m reading your book – almost done – and I just wanted to send you an email and say that I love it, and really appreciate getting a chance to know your story. I hope to buy a bunch to give away."


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Writing My Memoir


The most difficult part of the writing process for me was getting started. I didn’t how or where to begin. Do I write in chronological order, or do I just type what comes to mind and put it all together at a later date? I tried them both. There was a lot of frustration because I didn’t know how much to include and I had no direction. Then, I came up with the bright idea of writing it as a screenplay. I wrote out individual note cards detailing the most interesting scenes from my life that I thought would play well on camera. In this format, I was unable to include some important elements of my life, so I went back to writing in book form and built the book around my scene cards. Each card ended up becoming a seed that I cultivated until all the “seeds” grew into a book.

Once I figured out how to start, I still had another obstacle, re-living the painful past. Because of some of the difficult circumstances and painful memories, there were several times when I had to stop writing and deal with my emotions. I had to admit that the wounds I experienced growing up were still unhealed and were having an effect on my life and my marriage. 

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My husband and I had to work through a lot of difficult things like depression, fear and the lack of fulfillment I had been experiencing. Sometimes it took months or even a year before I could begin to write again. Needless to say it was a long process, but the healing that came along with it was invaluable.

Once my full draft was ready, the editors were very helpful in asking probing questions which pulled out more details that added an even greater depth and richness to the story. It was also helpful for me to have some friends from diverse backgrounds read my manuscript and help me clarify areas that could be misinterpreted or confusing. I even had my father read the parts of the book, which featured him. I wanted to make sure I had his permission to open up our lives to the public world.

Though the writing experience took a long and difficult 10 years, the healing that took place and the relationships that have been mended was worth every second and every tear.