Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Beauty of Sport, Part Two: Gymnast Nastia Liukin

Born in Russia, made in America. :-)

Anastasia Valeryevna "Nastia" Liukin was born in Moscow to Russian parents, and the family  emigrated to the United States when she was a little girl.  Her father, Valeri Liukin, was a gymnast who won two gold medals as part of the U.S.S.R.  team at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul before becoming a coach in the United States.

Nastia Liukin has won numerous gymnastics championships, having competed in the 2003 and 2007 Pan American Games and won gold medals in both as part of the U.S. gymnastics team.  She won the gold medal on the balance beam at the 2003 Pan Ams and silver in the same event in 2007.  When she competed in Beijing, she was over eighteen - the rare example of a woman competing in "women's" gymnastics.

It was in Beijing that she became only the third all-around Olympic champion from the United States in women's gymnastics.  She also picked up three silver medals - in team competition and on the uneven bars and balance beam.

Nastia Liukin failed to make the 2012 team, but her excellence paved the way for the "Fab Five" American women's gymnastics team that dominated at the London Olympics.  

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