In 2008 Nastia Liukin was at the top of her game. She took gold in the individual all-around competition during the Olympics in Beijing and joined Mary Lou Retton and Shannon Miller as the only American gymnasts to win five medals at a single Olympic Games. Now, after a three-year hiatus from intense training and competition, 22-year-old Liukin is staging a comeback. At the US Classic in May, her first big meet since the 2009 Nationals, she earned a third place finish on balance beam. Despite shaky performances on the uneven bars at the national Visa Championships in early June, Liukin received an invite to compete in the Olympic trials later this month.
Her road to London hasn’t been easy (she’s pushing through a small tear in her rotator cuff now), but Liukin remains optimistic about her chances of securing one of five spots on the women’s Olympic gymnastics team this summer. This week she took a break from training to talk to Fitbie about goal setting, motivation, and what a typical day in the gym looks like.
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What have you been up to since winning gold in 2008?
I took a little bit of time off of training and competing and have had so many amazing experiences the past few years. I was able to continue my passion for inspiring girls all over the country and world—and not just in gymnastics. My thing has always been to live a healthy lifestyle; that’s the way I was raised. So I’ve been trying to teach kids how important it is to stay active and to eat healthy. Then the past nine months I’ve been back in the gym training, trying to continue on this journey and see where it takes me.