Olympic Stories

Nastia Liukin - Gymnastics

Nastia Liukin - Gymnastics

Born on October 30, 1989 in Moscow, Russia, Anastasia Valeryevna Lyukina is a Russian-born American gymnast who will represent the USA at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. Anastasia moved to the United States soon after she was born, where was then known as Nastia Liukin – the name she still goes by today.

The daughter of professional Soviet champion gymnasts, Nastia has never known much life outside of the gym. She excels at so many different events throughout the genre, having won medals and championships in all-around, team, uneven bars, balance beam, and floor exercise events. She will run the gamut this year in London and could win multiple medals with the level of talent she brings to the table.

Sporting Career

Most successful gymnasts start at an incredibly young age, and Nastia Liukin isn’t any different. Growing up in the gym around her parents, both of whom were champions in their respective sports, Nastia began her career at only 3 years of age. Her parents knew all too well about the pressure of gymnastics and thus didn’t want their daughter competing, but Liukin was determined to become a gymnast. After her parents realized just how talented she was, they assumed the mantle of helping her train and prepare for the life to come.

When she was only 12, in 2002, Nastia would compete in the National Championships. Although she was doing very well in other events, she suffered a fall while performing a routine on the uneven bars. She wouldn’t place well, but a 15th-place finish did earn her a spot on the United States National Team. From there, the US team chose her to compete with them via the 2002 Junior Pan American Championships.

This was the start of a very impressive career. In only a short year, Liukin had become one of the best juniors in the US, winning the US National Championships and multiple gold medals via the balance beam, floor exercise and uneven bars. Too young to compete for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Nastia would have to wait before chasing Olympic Gold.

Finally turning professional in 2005, Nastia could now compete in much more meaningful events. She started out in impressive fashion by winning the first senior National Championship she competed in, taking multiple gold medals in multiple events. And in 2006’s American Cup, Nastia would place first in the all-around event. The American Cup would prove to be Liukin’s strongest tournament. Although she lost there previously, she would regain her title in 2008, en route to the Olympics in Beijing.

Nastia would win five medals in the 2008 Olympic Games, but only one gold medal. Her career has been extremely strong and productive, but as the Summer Games approach, it’s obvious that Liukin is looking to capture gold in every event she competes in.

Career Highlights

  • 2003 Pan American Games – Gold (2), Silver, Bronze (2)
  • 2005 World Championships – Gold (2), Silver (2)
  • 2006 Pacific Rim Championships – Gold (3), Silver
  • 2007 Pan American Games – Gold, Silver (2)
  • 2008 Pacific Rim Championships – Gold (3), Silver
  • 2008 Olympic Games – Gold, Silver (3), Bronze

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