Miller didn't win a gold medal at the Summer Games of Barcelona, but she won a handful of silvers and bronzes, becoming America's most decorated Olympian of 1992. Now she's headlining an exhibition tour featuring American and international gymnastics stars.
The tour, which was in Baltimore yesterday, could provide a gauge of Miller's popularity. Among those appearing are Vitaly Scherbo of Belarus, the Olympic men's all-around champion; Trent Dimas of Albuquerque, N.M., the men's high-bar gold medalist, and a pair of Olympic old-timers - Nadia Comaneci and Bart Connor.
And, of course, Kim Zmeskal.
Six months ago, Zmeskal was the American teenager most likely to come away
from Barcelona a star. She was the latest in the long line of prodigies produced by coach Bela Karolyi. But after a slip off the balance beam and a thud on a vault dismount, she found herself overshadowed by a younger, even lighter, competitor - Miller.
Miller left Barcelona with the all-around silver, a bronze from the team competition, a silver for the balance beam, and bronzes for the floor exercise and the uneven bars.
The medals are now tucked safely away in her bedroom.
"I'm proud of all of them," she said. "But I'd have to say it's the all- around medal that I'm most proud of."
Although Miller lost the all-around gold to Tatiana Gutsu of Ukraine by the narrowest of margins - a 10 on her final vault would have given her the title - she emerged as the most decorated U.S. gymnast in Olympic history.
Miller's return to Edmond, a town outside of Oklahoma City, was tumultuous. She was greeted by 4,000 fans at an airport reception. Later, the sidewalks were clogged as she led a parade. She gave a speech and received a prize - a Saturn sports coupe - from a local auto dealer.
Not bad for a kid who still must take a driver's education class before receiving her learner's permit.
After the Games, Miller actually took three days off from her daily 6 1/2- hour training sessions - which was two days longer than she had needed to recover from surgery in April to reattach a bone chip in her left elbow.
She visited the White House with other U.S. Olympians, meeting President Bush. She even made a television appearance with Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford. After performing a few flips, she spotted for Philbin and dropped him on his back.
"Looking back, everything went so fast," Miller said. "It seemed like I had the injury and it healed and I went to the Olympics."
For Miller, the Olympic experience was mostly practice and competition. But she did find time to meet the Dream Team, getting autographs and encouragement
from Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan.
"Charles Barkley told me not to take all of this too seriously," Miller said. "Magic wanted to know if we had seen him at the gymnastics competition. And Larry Bird said to me, 'What? Only five medals?' "
Those five medals could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to Miller, according to her agent.
The 1992 Olympics didn't produce a superstar like Mary Lou Retton, an athlete ready to sweep through Madison Avenue, collecting endorsements and commercials. But a few smaller stars were created, and among this group, Miller is arguably the brightest.
"For most people, Shannon came from nowhere," said her agent, Jerry Solomon, the president of ProServ. "And the public likes that."
While Miller will try to remain in her sport through the 1996 Atlanta Games, the push already is on to market her to America. Her deal with Trivial Pursuit is a start. Solomon said she is a natural for products related to youngsters.
"Shannon is not going to be another Michael Jordan," he said. "Then, there aren't a lot of Jordans, anyway. But she comes across well. And, obviously, she is very nice."
But there is a toughness that lies beneath the surface. Shy during interviews, she is spectacular on her routines, putting aside aches and pains that would slow even football players to bend, twist and soar in a bid for 10s.
Already, she is learning the compulsory routines for the 1996 Games.
"You've got to plan out a career," said her coach, Steve Nunno. "Shannon still hasn't won the American Cup and still hasn't won the U.S. championships. She'd like to do those things. She'd like to win the all-around world championships next year.
"When you have a 15-year-old who has reached a high level of success, it's still possible to go further. If anyone can go to back-to-back Olympics, Shannon can."
But before reaching Atlanta, she must overcome some formidable hurdles. Her 10th-grade classes at Edmond North Mid High School begin next week, and she will have a full schedule that includes honors courses in biology, algebra, English and world history.
Can she be just another student?
"I'd like to be," she said. "But I don't know if that will work out. People really love gymnastics around here."