Off To The Olympics
None of this information was made available to Rigby's fans at the time. She was far better known the embodiment of health and fitness, the youngest and smallest member of the U.S. gymnastics team competing in Mexico City in 1968. Competing in the four divisions of gymnastics—floor exercise, balance beam, vaulting, and uneven bars—Rigby finished sixteenth, the best-ever placement of an American in a sport more commonly dominated by Eastern European women.
Rigby's success in Mexico City heralded a four-year streak of gymnastics championships in the U.S. and abroad. The young woman took home honors in various contests, most notably in 1970 when Rigby became the first American of either gender to win a gold medal at the World Championships held in Yugoslavia. As her profile increased, Rigby increasingly became known as the woman to beat in the 1972 Olympic games in Munich, Germany. At nineteen, Rigby was again an Olympian, even though she could not curtail her binging and purging. Olympic glory, however, was not in her future. When the scores were tallied, gold medalist Korbut had stolen the spotlight as gymnastics' newest gamine. But even though Rigby had again set the record as the highest-placed American, finishing tenth, the pre-Olympics publicity—including a Life cover story—led her to feel like a failure. She retired from competition and married Tommy Mason, himself an ex-athlete.