Posts Tagged ‘Nastia Liukin’

Beth Tweddle news

January 9, 2009
Britains Beth Tweddle on her signature event.

Britain's Beth Tweddle on her signature event.

Britain’s best ever isn’t hanging up her grips yet. From the Chester Chronicle:

Beth Tweddle hoping for another world title in 2009

Beth Tweddle is preparing for what could be one of the most challenging years of her career.

Currently recovering from a shoulder operation, the gymnast from Bunbury will spend 2009 building towards a shot at glory at the World Championships in London in October.

Tweddle remains the only British gymnast to win a world title – on the uneven bars in 2006 – and despite the fact she will reach the grand old age of 24 in April, she is hoping to win a second.

The former Chester Queen’s School pupil is also eager to prove she has what it takes to go on and compete in the 2012 London Olympics.

“That is still in my mind,” said Tweddle, who had originally earmarked this year’s World Championships as the time to end her glittering career. “I have nothing set in stone, but I would like to compete at the London Games.

“Home crowds are the best and I don’t get to compete in major international competitions on home soil very often, so I am really looking forward to the worlds and possibly the Olympics.”

Tweddle, who finished an agonising fourth on the uneven bars at last summer’s Beijing Olympics, was due to have a medical assessment yesterday after undergoing shoulder surgery in November.

“It was unexpected but completely necessary,” she said. “It is a bit sore but that is mainly because I haven’t used it for 10 weeks. I am hoping I get the all-clear to begin training again so I can make sure I am fit for the Euros in April, the Grand Prix in Glasgow and the other events I need to get up to standard.”

When Tweddle resumes training she will have some work to do. Her uneven bars routine, the most difficult in the world, needs to be altered after rule changes which have reduced the time gymnasts can spend on the bars.

“It should actually help me,” said Tweddle, a member of Liverpool Gymnastics Club. “A shorter routine, but with the same difficult moves in, will be a benefit to me and hopefully help me continue my success.”

Still studying in Liverpool to become a physiotherapist, Tweddle says she is taking the autumn of her gymnastic career one step at a time.

“I just have to see what happens,” she said. “I am continuing to study and plan for the future and for what I will do when I leave gymnastics. But as for when I take all that up, I am not sure yet.”

Is it possible? Maybe, but she has to get through the Chinese (and maybe Nastia Liukin) first. If He Kexin and Yang Yilin look as good in 2009 as they did in 2008, it will be difficult for Tweddle to break through. Still, it’s always easier to be the hunter. Home court advantage in London could be a big help, too.

12 days of up and coming gymnasts, day seven

December 29, 2008
The elegant Samantha Shapiro, 15, is a rising star for the U.S.

The elegant Samantha Shapiro, 15, is a rising star for the U.S.

Jordyn Wieber and Samantha Shapiro, USA: Expect the dynamic Wieber and the elegant Shapiro to carry out this quad’s version of the Nastia and Shawn Show — that is, if Nastia and Shawn don’t return themselves.

Thirteen-year-old Wieber, the reigning junior national champion, was victorious at the Top Gym meet in Belgium earlier this month, while Shapiro competed alongside Nastia Liukin, Rebecca Bross and Darling Hill at the Pacifiic Rim Championships in the spring. There she dazzled everybody with her excellent form and sunny disposition (she didn’t stop smiling even when her floor exercise music stopped playing after her first pass.)

Look out for U.S. Junior Champ Jordyn Wieber this quad.

Look out for U.S. Junior Champ Jordyn Wieber this quad.

Shapiro, 15, also won bars and beam at the individual-events-only Pan American Union Championships in Rio against a strong field of, well, other Americans, including Olivia Courtney and Corrie Lothrop.

Wieber’s got the big skills (easy DTY, reportedly training an Amanar, effortless standing full on beam, double pike off), Shapiro’s got the elegance and grace (check out her uber-elegant mount). Like Nastia and Shawn, they’re two years apart. Hopefully they’re friends too — they’re going to be seeing a lot of each other in the next few years.

Nastia Liukin on Gossip Girl

December 4, 2008

Nastia, of course, is not the only successful Olympic gymnast to land cameos on TV. Shawn Johnson also got hit on by a cute guy on The Secret Life of the American Teenager:

During the 1990s, Shannon Miller had a cameo on an episode of Saved by the Bell, although I couldn’t find a clip of it, and Kerri Strug did a bit on Saturday Night Live with a high-voiced Chris Kattan. Strug also, I’m told by commenters, did a cameo on Beverly Hills 90210.

Liukin ready to resume training

December 3, 2008
Nastia Liukin wallpaper courtesy of

Nastia Liukin wallpaper courtesy of

She’s done the Gossip Girl thing, the fashion model thing, the touring-like-a-rock-star thing. Now Nastia Liukin’s going back to the thing she does best, although it’s still unclear how long she plans to remain involved in elite gymnastics.

From the L.A. Times blog:

Liukin had this to say about her gymnastics future: “I haven’t publicly said I’m competing next year, but I am going to the next two [national training camps] in January and February.”

Liukin, who trains in Plano, Texas, also said she was excited that the 2009 USA Gymnastics national championships are scheduled for nearby Dallas: “It would be a hometown meet for me, and I’ve never been in a big competition at home. That’s exciting to me.”

So it sounds as if Liukin will continue at least through the 2009 nationals and the 2009 World Championships in London (which features individual event competition but no teams).

It would be a great boost for the sport if a star such as Liukin keeps competing for longer than one Olympic quad. Like former Russian star and long-running competitor Svetlana Khorkina, Liukin conquered her teenage growth spurt and adjusted her gymnastics style to combine mature elegance with the degree of difficulty required by the code of points.

And Liukin still seems to love the sport.

“I’ve tried to keep in good shape,” Liukin said Monday. “And I really am eager to get back in the gym next month and be really serious again. I didn’t know if I would but I really am looking forward to getting back to training.”

Aliya Mustafina’s bars

November 29, 2008

Aliya Mustafina’s bars are great. Line and swing similar to Nastia Liukin’s. But Aliya, now 14, already looks as tall as Nastia at 18. Is she going to become a Svetlana Khorkina? Can her body take it if she does?

And could someone please tell me why the Russian juniors are always collectively so great but so rather underwhelming once they become seniors?

Aliya Mustafina, 2007 Voronin Cup, Uneven Bars:

Nastia Liukin, Uneven Bars, 2004:

Trani interviews Kupets

November 25, 2008

Everyone wants a Courtney Kupets update. Here it is, courtesy of Georgia freshman Amber Trani, who calls Kupets her “big sister” on the team.

How is your Achilles doing?
CK– It’s doing very well. I’m still doing a bit of rehab and am just now progressing onto hard surfaces. But slowly so I don’t go too hard and it swells up.

What are your thoughts on the upcoming season?
CK– I’m very excited for it. There’s still a lot of work to be done. But I’m excited for the new team and to build the new chemistry because until season starts you don’t really know how it’s going to be.

How have practices been going for you as well as the rest of the team?
CK– Practices for me still are either on or off. I guess it’s because of coming back from an injury. I need to be more consistent. Beam has been solid and I’m confident on that. And the team, we’ve started inner-squads. The first ones were pretty much what I expected but now it is picking up and getting to be what we want.

What do you think will be the toughest challenge?
CK– Well already [Courtney] McCool being out has been difficult. But we really need to not get ahead of ourselves. There’s going to be hard times and easy times and fun times. We can’t get over anxious about anything that occurs. That’ll be our toughest challenge.

Other interesting tidbits: Kupets says she couldn’t live without her coffee maker. I’m still amazed that gymnasts drink coffee. On Ellen, Carly Patterson once said she’d been drinking coffee from a pretty young age, and Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson were spotted this summer getting their Starbucks fix. Trani aspires to be a sports reporter. In five years, she hopes to be working for Sports Illustrated or ESPN.

Kupets’s new floor routine (and many others from Georgia) are available on Gymnastike.

Johnson unlikely for 2009

November 8, 2008

Shawn Johnson tells the Des Moines Register she’s unlikely to compete in 2009. Rick wonders if this means she’s retiring for good. Johnson even disclosed that she’s not sure whether she’ll return to her high school in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Like the comeback after a potentially career-ending injury, the comeback after a successful Olympics is long and grueling. How do you go back to four to six hours in a gym after you’ve been the face of McDonalds? It’s a question Johnson and Nastia Liukin are likely to be asking themselves. Despite Johnson’s claim that she’d “give anything” to feel more Olympic magic, she may not realize what four more years is really going to take from her.

Only a handful of female gymnasts in the past decade have come back from successful Olympic experiences, and only two — Shannon Miller and Dominique Dawes — have been American (Tasha Schwikert doesn’t count because you can’t really call 2000 a success for the American women). The others include Lilia Podkopayeva (though her return was so brief it was almost non-existent), Simona Amanar, Andreea Raducan and of course, Svetlana Khorkina, who always looked better the year after an Olympic Games. than she did at the Games themselves.

A scene from Podkopayeva’s short retrurn to international competition in 1997, at the European Masters:

Nastia’s next move: London 2009

October 20, 2008

Olympic champion Nastia Liukin is being realistic about the possibility of her being on the elite scene in 2012.

In an interview earlier this week, however, Liukin said she will resume training in January with an eye to competing at the 2009 World Championships in London.

Liukin, who was named Sportswoman of the Year by the Women’s Sports Foundation, is tied with Shannon Miller for number of world medals won. Each has nine.

Liukin, who turns 19 this month, will resume training in January with a view towards competing in front of her home fans in Dallas in August and at the world championships in London in October.

“That’s what my next big goal is,” said Liukin.

“2012 is four years away, so it’s hard to say as far as what I’m doing,” she said about the possibility of defending her Olympic title in London.

The last woman to win back-to-back Olympic titles was Vera Caslavska of Czechoslovakia. In 1968.

Destiny 2012 — Is it Rebecca Bross’s turn?

October 12, 2008
2007 U.S. Junior Champion Rebecca Bross performs on balance beam.

2007 U.S. Junior Champion Rebecca Bross performs on balance beam.

The pressure on Rebecca Bross is going to be intense during the next four years. She’s the up-and-coming WOGA superstar, already with one U.S. Junior Championship to her name, from a gym that has produced the last two Olympic champions.

Heck, after the performances of Carly Patterson and Nastia Liukin at their respective Olympic Games, anything less than the all-around crown is going to be a letdown. What a standard!

International Gymnast editor Dwight Normile gave the briefest of updates on Bross in his latest column.

I see 2007 U.S. junior champion Rebecca Bross, a transplant from Michigan, swinging through routines on the bars. She missed the nationals last summer with three broken bones in her foot, but is looking sharp here. I realize that, for most of the people in the gym at this hour, gymnastics is their life. It is not just an afterschool activity. The pace of practice is unhurried but steady. Few coaching comments are heard. Many of the gymnasts seem to be on autopilot, their workouts comfortably shaped by habit, driven by ambition.

It may be only a matter of time before Bross is anointed as USA Gymanstics’ next great hope. She and current U.S. junior champ Jordyn Wieber may play out the Shawn Johnson/Nastia Liukin rivalry of the next quad.

So what do you think? Does the U.S. have a potential gold in the hole with Bross?

Rebecca Bross, 2007 Pan-American Games Event Finals, Floor Exercise:

Gymnasts stand near President!

October 10, 2008
More than 400 athletes were present at the White House, where they were honored by President Bush.

More than 400 athletes were present at the White House, where they were honored by President Bush.

Nastia Liukin, standing to the left of Michael Phelps and his newly grown goatee, seems pleased. Shawn Johnson, who led a Pledge of Allegiance at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, looks a bit disapproving.