Teenage Nastia Liukin Worked Hard for Olympic Glory | Before They Were Superstars

Teenage Nastia Liukin Worked Hard for Olympic Glory | Before They Were Superstars

Of course, it’s always
in the back of everyone’s mind, you know, the Olympic Games,
that’s huge, you know?! I do it just because I love it and I want to be
one of the best. Artistic gymnastics champion
Nastia Liukin was always destined
for greatness. Her father, Valeri, was an
Olympic champion in the sport and her mother, Anna, was a world champion
rhythmic gymnast. Both competed
for the former Soviet Union. Nastia was born in Moscow but moved to the United States with her parents
when she was young. I think I was about three when we first moved to the US
from Russia and both my mom and dad, they were coaches at a gym
in New Orleans. I was always in the gym with
them just playing around. And I guess those are
pretty much my first memories
in gymnastics. After that, we moved to Texas, and they started
to build a gym here. She was with us
in the gym all the time doing somersaults and playing
around on the apparatus. She’d copy the children
we were training and we noticed that she was
better than those older kids. My wife and I had a chat and decided to include Nastia
in a small gymnastics group and that’s how it all started. At 16, Nastia was spending most
of her time at her parents’ gym on the outskirts of Dallas. Having swept all before her
on the junior stage, Nastia was recognised as a rising star
of the gymnastics world and it was being
widely predicted that she would dominate
the sport in the years to come. And she knew exactly
what it was going to take. A lot of hard work. You know, that’s pretty much
all… That’s pretty much it. A bunch of hard work and a lot
of hours and repetition and turns put into it
and a lot of dedication. Waking up at seven o’clock
every morning, to tell you the truth, it’s not easy,
especially those days where you just want to stay
in bed and sleep in. But it’s those days
that you do wake up and those are the days
that you actually get better. Nastia makes so many sacrifices
for her sport and wants to be the best. She wants to win,
just like I did. It’s never been very difficult
for me to enforce her to train. Well, not enforce,
that’s the wrong word. I should say it’s always been
easy for me to inspire her to train. I think my biggest strength,
being a gymnast, obviously it’s not
my physical strength. I guess it’s more my dance
and my technique. We work a lot, me and my dad
work a lot on technique, just nailing those skills
perfectly, trying to get them done
as best as I can because that’s kind of where I think that I step apart
from the other gymnasts is my technique and my form. So I guess that’s kind of
where my strength is. Also, we work a lot
on dance too. And try to get my beam routines and my floor routines
really graceful and unique. More of the other gymnasts, they do a kind of
a different style than I do. I know I do gymnastics
for myself, and I want to be one of
the best gymnasts in the world, and neither of my parents, they’ve never pushed me
into gymnastics. They kind of pushed me
the opposite way when I was little,
just starting gymnastics. They knew how hard it was,
going through all the injuries, it’s a really hard sport and I know they kind of
didn’t want me to do it, but then when I started and
they saw how much I love it, they just want the best for me and they wanted me to do
what I really love. So I don’t feel pressure at all because I know they’re
not putting pressure on me, or pushing me to do it. I just think I do it
just because I love it and I want to be
one of the best. As part of her training
programme, her dad encouraged her to deal
with her aches and pains by going to visit
an acupuncturist. I guess I’ve been doing it for about four or five years
and, before me, my dad and my mom,
they both did it back in Russia to help their little injuries, so I guess
it just kind of carried over and they thought
I should try it. More pain in here,
less pain in the gym! I go pretty much once a week
on a regular basis and I think it helps a lot just for those little
nagging injuries. Nastia grew up
as an only child. In March 2006, the Liukin family had just
moved into a new house and they’d also just bought
two dogs, Lexi and Rex. Come on, Lexi.
Lexi, come on. Go! We never really
talk about gym at home. Sometimes we’ll bring it up, or we’ll watch
one of my competitions, but it’s never like
every day we come home and think about
how that day went or what went wrong
or what went right, what I did good. So really we just keep the gym
at the gym, and at home he’s my dad. Of course, medals are great and it’s lovely to see a smile
on your child’s face, but it’s not
the most important thing. Being a mum, I want my daughter
to be a good person. I’m just as happy
when she does well at school, or if she overcomes
a difficult situation in life. Right now, there’s other things
more than the Olympics. There’s World Championships
this year again and then the next year. So, everyone always thinks
about the Olympics, and I think about it too, I’m not going to say I don’t, but right now I’m just trying
to think of one day at a time, one step at a time, and
the next few meets coming up and then hopefully, at the end
of the year, Worlds again. To be honest, I don’t think
that Nastia has reached anywhere near her potential
yet. The really big competitions
are still to come. It’s her dream
to make it to the Olympics and my wife and I will be with
her every step of the way.

100 Replies to “Teenage Nastia Liukin Worked Hard for Olympic Glory | Before They Were Superstars”

  1. Most of us do wake up at 7 or earlier, but what she does all day is physically and mentally exhausting. In her case, 7 is very EARLY.

  2. i swim and my training starts at 6 and goes till 8 (am) after i go straight to school but my friends would get up at 4 am 5 times a week for swimming so….. yeah

  3. She's one of the best gymnasts we would ever seen. And she cannot use chopsticks. Wasn't thinking uneven bars were easier ahahah

  4. Dad:

    She would play around with us all day. When we began to
    notice that she was doing things better than the other girls whom we were
    actually training, we then began to think about maybe putting her on the team
    we were coaching, just a small team with little kids, and we did just that, and
    that’s how this all started (from whence it began).

    Nastia is a self-sacrificing
    athlete. She always wants to be first. Probably she gets that from me, and we
    never, it was not very hard, how to say this, to force her to train a lot or
    not to make her, I wouldn’t say force, but to convince her that one must train
    a lot. 


    Her mother:

    As a mother, that
    is to say, I am much happier for her when she does well in school or when she
    figures difficult situations out while remaining a good person. Of course
    medals are great and it is nice to see a smile on your child's face. But,
    probably, this is not the most important thing.



    I honestly do not
    think that Nastia has achieved anything remarkable. What is most important are
    the competitions ahead. Of course, Nastia's dream is to make it to the Olympic
    games, and we will do all we can to support her in this.

  5. When Nastya came to the sceen I fell in love with her when she performed on the balance beam. I thought to myself that's how you do it.

  6. They are so good I wish I was them

  7. It's cool her parents taught in New Orleans, I live next to it in Baton Rouge, I have a flight this morning from New Orleans too

  8. Looking back on this is always great because I went to Woga from the ages of 6-10 and I always saw Nastia training and she inspired me to be better.

  9. I'm trying to go to the Olympics and I practice around 30 to 35 hours a week I do monday, tuesday, Wednesday,thursday, and Friday I do a lot more hour that a lot of the girls in my gym

  10. This interview was released after the beijing olumpics because it says that she is 16 but at the Olumpics she was 19

  11. As soon as I heard the word rhythmic gymnast I feel like I need to cry because i spent a lot of time doing it but they only told me how bad I was at it and if you don't care skip this comment

  12. Her dad looks kind of Asian. Wouldn't be surprised, considering it' borders Kazakhstan, where he was born. But Nastia doesn't look it AT ALL.

  13. i don’t understand her mom or dad! do they speak any english? if i was nastia i would look at my parents like their dumb

  14. She's an incredible gymnast! I wish I could understand what her dad was saying! I think he has a lot of advice on the sport, and possibly on life as well!

  15. I'm a huge fan of Nastia, for gymnastics in competing or training. Interesting that her parents are gymnasts like, except her mom was a Rhythmic gymnasts.

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