|In Des Moines for Saturday's CoverGirl Classic, 2008 Olympic all-around champion Nastia Liukin told IG she is eager to return to top form as she prepares for next month's U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Dallas.
In Des Moines for Saturday's CoverGirl Classic, 2008 Olympic all-around champion Nastia Liukin told IG she is eager to return to top form as she prepares for next month's U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Dallas.
"Winning is not my priority in Dallas," said Liukin, who trains at the WOGA club outside of Dallas. "My No. 1 priority is to get back in the competition 'zone' and really enjoy myself and the home crowd. It has been a while since I competed, so I really want to get the feel for it again."
Liukin is one of eight WOGA gymnasts who are competing Saturday at the CoverGirl Classic, a qualifying meet for the Visa (U.S.) Championships. She said the presence of her seven WOGA teammates benefits her as she readjusts to competition mode.
"I am still trying to get in that 'zone,'" the 19-year-old Liukin said. "Traveling, training, eating and just being part of the team again really helps. It is a little different because even last year I was the only senior, so I was always alone, but I love being part of a team again."
In Liukin's first competition since winning the all-around title at last summer's Olympics in Beijing, she plans to compete on balance beam in Des Moines, and commentate for Universal Sports/NBC's broadcast of the meet.
Liukin arrives at the 2009 ESPY Awards n Los Angeles, where she won Best Female Athlete.
"I am thrilled I was asked to commentate and hope it will go well," she said. "I think that would be something I would like to do a little bit more of in the future."
Since winning in Beijing, Liukin has been busy with tours, personal appearances and endorsements. Among Liukin's most recent honors, she was named "Best Female Athlete" at the ESPY Awards, held July 19 in Los Angeles. Other nominees for the award were tennis player Serena Williams, swimmer Natalie Coughlin, and basketball players Maya Moore and Candace Parker.
"Winning the ESPY was beyond anything I would have ever dreamed about," Liukin said. "It was so exciting to be there with a huge list of phenomenal athletes. When I won this award, I was a little shocked because of the other women in the same category. But it was beyond amazing, and it was all because of the fans. So I really wanted to thank the fans for this one!"
Despite Liukin's busy travel schedule, she said she has been able to stay in shape on the road.
"While I was in L.A. I only had time to do cardio and conditioning, but the day I was back (in Texas), I went in the gym and got right into routines," said Liukin, who is coached by her father, 1988 Olympic double gold medalist Valeri Liukin. "Doing all this traveling over the past few months has really taught me well how to handle everything. When I get back home, I am able to jump in right where I was before."
Liukin said she is training on all four events for the Visa (U.S.) Championships that will take place Aug. 12-15, but she hopes to compete on "at least" uneven bars and balance beam.
"I am so excited for nationals to be in my hometown this year," said Liukin, who was born in Moscow. "I have so many friends and family members who will come watch, as well as other friends flying in to watch!"
Beyond the Visa Championships, Liukin said she is keeping her competitive options open for events ranging from this fall's World Championships to the 2012 Olympics, both taking place in London.
"I'm not quite sure yet, and I am just trying to get back in the swing of things first," Liukin told IG. "I think in the next three years is where I will do more upgrades!"
Tune into IG partner Universal Sports to watch the CoverGirl (U.S) Classic live Saturday at 8 p.m. EST on Universal Sports TV and UniversalSports.com.
Nastia Liukin is featured in the following issues of International Gymnast magazine:
June 2009: Liukin interview
December 2008: "Nastia's Dream Comes True" (Kids Klub feature)
November 2008: "Thought Process" (Liukin interview); "Following Nastia & Shawn" (photo gallery); "10 Questions with Anna and Valeri Liukin"
October 2008: Olympic Games special issue; Liukin on cover; Liukin center poster
September 2008: Liukin on cover collage, Olympic preview
July/August 2008: U.S. Championships coverage, U.S. Olympic Trials coverage
June 2008: "10 Questions with Nastia Liukin"
May 2008: Pacific Rim Championships coverage
April 2008: Liukin on cover, American Cup coverage
December 2007: "View from the Top" photo gallery, includes Liukin center poster
November 2007: "A Champion's Resurgence" - Liukin feature
October 2007: World Championships special issue, Liukin and team on cover
September 2007: U.S. championships coverage, 2007 World preview photo gallery, includes Liukin
December 2006: World Championships special issue
October 2006: U.S. Championships coverage
June 2006: Pacific Alliance Championships coverage
May 2006: American Cup photo gallery
April 2006: American Cup coverage
January/February 2006: cover photo, 2005 World Championships special issue
October 2005: cover photo, center poster, U.S. Championships coverage
June/July 2005: Valery Liukin Hall of Fame induction feature
April 2005: cover photo, American Cup coverage
August/September 2005: U.S. Championships coverage
June/July 2004: Pacific Alliance Championships coverage
August/September 2003: U.S. Championships coverage
June/July 2003: cover photo
November 2002: "An Unstoppable Force" (profile)
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