Though she narrowly missed making the U.S. Olympic gymnastics squad, Christy Henrich’s successes were many during her highly profiled career that tragically eneded with her death from anorexia and bulimia in July of 1994. Perhaps the saddest story and most tragic member of The Examiner’s Top 50 all-time greatest athletes is Fort Osage graduate Christy Henrich. Although she never swung a bat, stepped on a track or dribbled a basketball for the Indians, she is one of the most honored and respected athletes in the school’s and area’s history. Henrich was a world class gymnast, who was a member of the United States National Gymnastics team from 1986-1990. She represented the United States in international competitions in Germany, China, Switzerland and elsewhere starting in 1986 at the age of 14. She finished ninth at the U.S. Olympic trials in 1988 and missed making the Olympic team by .188 of a point. That was a devastating blow to the dazzling pixie, who bounced back from a serious injury ­ a broken vertebrae in her neck suffered in a fall ­ for her greatest season in 1989. She finished second at the U.S. National Championships that year and placed fourth on the uneven parallel bars at the 1989 World Championships in Stuttgart, West Germany. She suffered a variety of injuries in 1990 and fell to 10th at the national championships, then retired from the sport in 1991. Christy never really overcame missing out on her life-long dream of making the Olympics and developed two deadly eating disorders ­ anorexia and bulimia. And with her organs severely damaged by the effects of the her eating disorders, she died in July of 1994. “My life is a horrifying nightmare,” she said to The Examiner before her death. “It feels like there is a beast inside of me, a monster.” Her family and fiancee did everything they could to help Christy overcome her eating disorders. She was the first U.S. gymnast to die of an eating disorder, although Cathy Rigby, Christy Phillips, Cathy Johnson and Nadia Comaneci successfully fought the disease. Henrich was a mirror image of her idol, Mary Lou Retton, at the peak of her career. Henrich weighed 93 pounds when a judge at an international competition told her she needed to watch her weight. “That was perceived by Christy as ‘You’re too fat to be an Olympic gymnast,’ ” said Al Fong, her former coach at Great American Gymnastic Express. “She was an extremely strong person. She was a bull, a tank.” When Fong approached Henrich to talk about her eating disorder, the two individuals parted ways. “I said to her, ‘You’re going to kill yourself.’ She needed to eat. But she just couldn’t.” “I said to her, ‘You’re going to kill yourself.’ She needed to eat. But she just couldn’t.”