These are busy times for Nastia Liukin, but the 2008 Olympic gold medalist is used to that.
On Wednesday she’ll fly to Sochi, Russia where she’ll do feature reporting during the Winter Olympics for NBC. On Saturday she promoted the upcoming World Olympic Gymnastics Academy Classic in Frisco on February 8 and 9. She’ll miss the event this year because she’ll be at the Olympics.
Liukin is also in Dallas this weekend for her mother’s birthday and she stopped by the WOGA gym in Plano where it all started for her.
“I spent more time here than I actually did at my house so it brings back a lot of memories,” Liukin told NBC DFW. “It’s really fun to see these girls, the up and coming girls. I live in New York now but Dallas will always be home for me and immediately when I walk in and smell the chalk and seeing all the girls and the coaches it’s just a really nice home feeling for me.”
When she was in the fifth grade, the future gold medalist started training seven hours a day, six days a week at WOGA. She says girls who go down this path really have to want it. Liukin says you can tell which girls have it by the time they’re ten…
“A lot of them have a natural talent from the beginning but it does take a lot of hard work and the sport comes with many obstacles you have to overcome, too but you can definitely see potential at an early age,” says Liukin.
So what’s it like coming back to a place where everybody knows your name and more importantly knows you’ve reached the top in your sport?
“When I’m here they’ll say, ‘Can I show you my routine or can you tell me what you think of this/’ and of course if they do that I’ll give them advice but at the end of the day they all have their personal coaches.”
With the summer games in Rio De Janiero, Brazil still more than two years away, it’s hard to tell what the US Gymnastics team will look like, but Liukin’s optimistic the girls good enough to make that team will be good enough to win.