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London Olympics 2012

Nastia Liukin


Nastia LiukinNastia LiukinNastia LiukinNastia LiukinNastia Liukin

Anastasia "Nastia" Liukin, born October 30, 1989 in Moscow, Russia, is an artistic gymnast. She is the 2008 Olympic individual all-around Champion, the 2005 and 2007 World Champion on the balance beam, and the 2005 World Champion on the uneven bars. With nine World Championships medals, seven of them individual, Liukin is tied with Shannon Miller for the second-highest tally of World Championship medals; Alicia Sacramone has ten. Liukin has also tied Miller's record as the American gymnast having won the most medals in a single non-boycotted Olympic Games. The daughter of two former Soviet champion gymnasts, Olympic gold medalist Valeri Liukin – the first man to do a triple backflip – and World Champion rhythmic gymnast Anna Kotchneva, Liukin was born in Moscow and moved to the United States as a young child. She began gymnastics after spending time in the gym while her parents coached. Liukin is coached by her father at the World Olympic Gymnastics Academy, her family's gymnastics club in Plano, Texas. Liukin became a member of the U.S. junior national team when she was 12 years old and won the National all-around title at the age of 13. She was the all-around silver medalist at the 2003 Pan American Games. Since 2005, Liukin has been a key member of the U.S. senior team. She is a four-time all-around U.S. National Champion, winning twice as a junior and twice as a senior. She has been the U.S. senior National Champion on the uneven bars since 2005. Liukin has represented the United States at three World Championships, the 2003 and 2007 Pan American Games, and the 2006 and 2008 Pacific Rim Championships. In October 2011, Liukin announced that she was returning to the sport of gymnastics with the hopes of making the 2012 Olympic team. Liukin and her family are members of the Russian Orthodox church. Her nickname Nastia is a Russian diminutive for Anastasia. The family moved to the United States when Nastia Liukin was two and a half years old, after the breakup of the Soviet Union, and settled first in New Orleans before moving to Texas. In 1994, Valeri Liukin teamed with another former Soviet champion athlete, Evgeny Marchenko, to open the World Olympic Gymnastics Academy (WOGA) in Plano, Texas. Liukin is fluent in English and Russian and graduated from Spring Creek Academy, located in Plano, Texas, in the spring of 2007. She had enrolled as a freshman international business major at Southern Methodist University in January 2008, but took a leave from classes to concentrate on preparations for the 2008 Olympic Games. She returned to campus in Spring 2009, but her travel schedule and professional commitments caused her to withdraw before the end of the semester. Nastia's signature color is pink, hence her pink leotard worn during the 2008 Beijing Olympics All-Around competition.

Liukin currently updates a blog on her official website and regularly posts on Twitter as @NastiaLiukin. She has a line of GK Gymnastics Leotards and grips and a line of pink gymnastics equipment from AAI. Liukin began gymnastics at the age of three because she was always hanging around in the gym with her parents, who could not afford a babysitter to look after her while they were working as coaches. Liukin's parents initially did not aspire for their daughter to become a gymnast, knowing the pressure of high-level competition firsthand, but relented when they noticed her aptitude for the sport. Liukin competed in her first National Championships as a junior in 2002, at the age of 12½. In contrast to her WOGA teammates Carly Patterson and Hollie Vise who finished first and second respectively, Liukin suffered a fall on the uneven bars which rendered her unable to finish the routine. She continued through the rest of the competition, and despite the incomplete bars set, finished 15th, which landed her one of the final spots on the U.S. National Team. She was chosen to compete with the U.S. team at the 2002 Junior Pan American Championships, where she contributed to the team gold medal and placed second on the uneven bars, balance beam and all-around. By 2003, Liukin was one of the strongest junior gymnasts in the United States. Liukin was a member of the gold-medal winning U.S. team at the 2003 Pan Am Games; she took second place in the all-around behind fellow American Chellsie Memmel. She also won the all-around in the junior division of the 2004 Pacific Alliance Championships. Liukin was ten months too young to compete as a senior in 2004, and thus was not eligible for a place on the U.S. team for the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Her scores in the junior division at the 2004 U.S. National Championships were competitive with those being posted by the seniors, and Marta Karolyi, U.S. National Team Coordinator, has said that if Liukin had been eligible, she would have been named to the Olympic team. In 2005, Liukin won her first senior National Championships and, once again, earned gold medals on the bars and beam. At the 2005 World Championships in Melbourne she finished second in the AA behind teammate Chellsie Memmel. In late August, at the 2006 U.S. National Championships, Liukin successfully defended her all-around, beam and bars titles, becoming a two-time senior National Champion. Liukin competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials in Philadelphia, finishing second behind Johnson, and earning a berth on the American team for Beijing. Liukin performed all-around in the qualifying round of competition. She qualified to the all-around final with a score of 62.375, which ranked her second among all competitors and 0.35 points behind Shawn Johnson, her friend and Olympic roommate. Liukin also qualified to three event finals: beam, uneven bars and floor exercise; more than any other American competitor.In the event finals, Liukin displayed a beautiful routine to earn a surprising bronze medal on floor exercise with the score of 15.425, behind teammate Shawn Johnson with 15.500, and Romanian Sandra Izbasa with 15.650.

On uneven bars, Liukin and China's He Kexin both posted final marks of 16.725, and earned identical A and B-panel scores of 7.70 and 9.025, respectively. However, He Kexin won the gold medal, and Liukin was awarded the silver, after a tie-breaking calculation that took into account individual marks given by judges on the B-panel. In the balance beam final, Liukin scored 16.025 to claim silver behind Shawn Johnson's 16.225. With her fifth Beijing medal, Liukin tied Mary Lou Retton and Shannon Miller for the most gymnastics medals won by an American in a single Olympic Games.

Outside of competitive gymnastics, Liukin had cameo roles in the April 2006 Touchstone Pictures film Stick It, a 2008 episode of Gossip Girl and a quick cameo appearance on the newest Bravo TV show, NYC Prep. She has expressed a desire to become an actress in the future. Following the Beijing Olympics, Liukin appeared on many talk shows in the United States, including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night With Conan O'Brien, and the Oprah Winfrey Show. She also appeared in the second season of Make It or Break It. On the April 16, 2012 episode of The Price Is Right, Liukin appeared as a guest model and has been a part of numerous other television projects. Liukin has expressed interest in the fashion world; she has served as a Longines Sports Ambassador of Elegance since 2006 and, along with her teammates Shawn Johnson and Alicia Sacramone, was one of the first female athletes ever to be signed as CoverGirl spokesmodels.

See more at: www.nastialiukin.com

Follow Nastia on Twitter

source: www.wikipedia.org







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