Foster Receives USA Gymnastics Spirit Award

INDIANAPOLIS – USA Gymnastics awarded Kate Foster the 2016 USA Gymnastics Robert Miller Spirit of the Flame Award on July 9 in San Jose during the the 2016 USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, held in conjunction with the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials – Women’s Gymnastics and the USA Gymnastics National Congress and Trade Show.

Foster, of Rockford, IL, was 12 years old when she was diagnosed with leukemia. During her battle with cancer, an infection forced doctors to amputate her left leg above the knee.

“Kate has shown an incredible ability to fight at a time when many others would have given up,” said David Durante, chairman of the USA Gymnastics Athletes Council on the USA Gymnastics website. “Her continued determination and love for gymnastics are an inspiration for our entire community. Kate is a fantastic representative of what the Robert Miller Spirit of the Flame Award is all about, and we are proud to name her this year’s recipient of the award.” 

"As leukemia ravaged her body, her spirit fought back, and she refused to surrender to her tenacious enemy,” Lori Aamodt, Kate’s coach and owner of Gymnastic Academy of Rockford said. “She never balked at the challenge but attacked her opponent with the same determination she attacks gymnastics.”

Foster taught herself how to compete with a prosthetic limb. Foster performs the same routines and follows the same rules as the gymnasts with two legs.

Founded in 1987, the Robert Miller Spirit of the Flame Award recognizes athletes and individuals in the gymnastics world who demonstrate leadership, strength and determination in an extraordinary way. In 2011, the award was renamed after fellow gymnast and Staff Sargeant Robert Miller who received the Medal of Honor after saving the lives of fellow soldiers while serving in the war in Afghanistan.