Sure, she can stick a vault on a mangled ankle, but for gold-medal gymnast Kerri Strug, landing a future in showbiz isn’t going to be painless. After a cameo as convincing as Tori Spelling’s hair color on a recent 90210, Strug is now demonstrating that she’s a good sport. She appeared on Saturday Night Live with her androgynous ”brother” Kippy (Chris Kattan); she parodied her post-injury pose by being hoisted midfield during Monday Night Football’s coin toss; and she’s been passed around like a sack of new potatoes in ads for ESPN.
But before Strug gets carried away with her new comic image, the tiny tumbler has to surmount the high (pitched) obstacle in the way of her TV career. ”Her voice would be annoying after more than an hour, or a half hour, or 15 minutes,” jokes Arnold Sand of Sports Marketing & Entertainment, Inc., in L.A. Strug’s agent, Leigh Steinberg, is well aware of his client’s vocal handicap: ”I’ve been trying not to make her feel self-conscious, but I think we’ll have her take voice lessons.” Not that she’s been scraping for work: Strug is taping an upcoming America’s Funniest Home Videos, discussing potential sitcom appearances, has a six-figure endorsement deal for nutritional products, and may do a TV movie. Since tickets to her 1996 World Gold Gymnastics Tour aren’t exactly selling out yet, she may eventually fall into acting. Says Steinberg, ”I could see a sitcom in her future.” Well, if Fran Drescher can do it, anything is possible.