Friday, May 1, 2009

Nastia Luikin

Nastia Liukin

Liukin in San Diego, September 14, 2008

Personal information
Full name: Anastasia Valeryevna Liukin
Nickname(s): Nastia, Nast
Country Represented: United States
Date of birth: October 30, 1989 (1989-10-30) (age 19)
Place of birth: Moscow, Russian SFSR, USSR
Hometown: Plano, Texas, USA
Height: 5 ft 3 in (1.60 m)
Discipline: Women's artistic gymnastics
Level: Senior International
Years on National Team: 6 (2002-2008)
Gym: World Olympic Gymnastics Academy
Head coach(es): Valeri Liukin
Assistant coach(es): Natalya Marakova
Former coach(es): Anna Liukin
Choreographer: Natalya Marakova
Music: Variations on Dark Eyes by Lara St. John

Anastasia Valeryevna "Nastia" Liukin (Russian: Анастасия "Настя" Валерьевна Люкина (Anastasiya "Nastya" Valeryevna Lyukina); born October 30, 1989) is a Russian-American artistic gymnast. She is the 2008 Olympic individual all-around gold medalist, the 2005 and 2007 World Champion on the balance beam, and the 2005 World Champion on the uneven bars. With nine World Championships medals, seven of them individual, Liukin is tied with Shannon Miller as the American gymnast having won the most World Championship medals. Liukin has also tied Miller's record as the American gymnast having won the most medals in a single non-boycotted Olympic Games.

The daughter of two former Soviet champion gymnasts, Olympic gold medalist Valeri Liukin - the first man to do a triple backflip - and World Champion rhythmic gymnast Anna Kotchneva, Nastia Liukin was born in Moscow and moved to the United States as a young child. She began gymnastics after spending time in the gym while her parents coached. Liukin is coached by her father at the World Olympic Gymnastics Academy, her family's gymnastics club in Plano, Texas.

Liukin became a member of the U.S. junior national team when she was 12 years old and won the National all-around title at the age of 13. She was the all-around silver medalist at the 2003 Pan American Games. Since 2005, Liukin has been a key member of the U.S. senior team. She is a four-time all-around U.S. National Champion, winning twice as a junior and twice as a senior. She has been the U.S. senior National Champion on the uneven bars since 2005. Liukin has represented the United States at three World Championships, the 2003 and 2007 Pan American Games, and the 2006 and 2008 Pacific Rim Championships.

Personal life

Liukin was born on October 30, 1989, in Moscow, Russian SFSR, USSR. She is the only child of two former Soviet champion gymnasts: 1988 Summer Olympics gold medalist Valeri Liukin and 1987 World Clubs Champion in rhythmic gymnastics, Anna Kotchneva. Liukin and her family are members of the Russian Orthodox church. Her nickname Nastia is a Russian diminutive for Anastasia.

The family moved to the United States when Liukin was two and a half years old, after the breakup of the Soviet Union, and settled first in New Orleans before moving to Texas.In 1994, Valeri Liukin teamed with another former Soviet champion athlete, Evgeny Marchenko, to open the World Olympic Gymnastics Academy (WOGA) in Plano.

Liukin is fluent in English and Russian. She graduated from Spring Creek Academy, located in Plano, Texas, in the spring of 2007. As of Spring 2009, she currently attends Southern Methodist University. She had enrolled as a freshman international business major at Southern Methodist University in January 2008, but took a leave from classes to concentrate on preparations for the 2008 Olympic Games. Nastia's signature color is pink, hence her pink leotard worn to the 2008 Bejing Olympics All Around competition.

Liukin currently updates a blog on her official website.

Junior career

Liukin began gymnastics at the age of three because she was "always hanging around in the gym" with her parents, who could not afford a babysitter to look after her while they were working as coaches. Liukin's parents initially did not aspire for their daughter to become a gymnast, knowing the pressure of high-level competition firsthand, but relented when they noticed her aptitude for the sport.

Liukin competed in her first National Championships as a junior in 2002, at the age of 12½. In contrast to her WOGA teammates Carly Patterson and Hollie Vise who finished first and second respectively, Liukin suffered a fall on the uneven bars which rendered her unable to finish the routine. She continued through the rest of the competition, and despite the incomplete bars set, finished 15th, which landed her one of the final spots on the U.S. National Team. She was chosen to compete with the U.S. team at the 2002 Junior Pan American Championships, where she contributed to the team gold medal and placed second on the uneven bars, balance beam and all-around.

By 2003, Liukin was one of the strongest junior gymnasts in the United States. She won the junior division of the U.S. National Championships, as well as gold medals on three of the four events: uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise. She repeated these accomplishments in 2004. Liukin was a member of the gold-medal winning U.S. team at the 2003 Pan Am Games; she took second place in the all-around behind fellow American Chellsie Memmel. She also won the all-around in the junior division of the 2004 Pacific Alliance Championships.

Born in 1989, Liukin was one year too young to compete as a senior in 2004, and thus was not eligible for a place on the U.S. team for the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Her scores in the junior division at the 2004 U.S. National Championships were competitive with those being posted by the seniors, and Marta Karolyi, U.S. National Team Coordinator, has said that if Liukin had been eligible, she would have been named to the Olympic team.

Senior career


In 2005, Liukin won her first senior National Championships and, once again, earned gold medals on the bars and beam. At the 2005 World Championships in Melbourne, she was ranked first in the all-around after the preliminary competition. In the all-around final she technically accumulated the same total as Chellsie Memmel, but a scoring system that truncated the individual apparatus marks, as opposed to using the full scores or rounding up, artificially lowered Liukin's total score and she placed second. Memmel's final score was 37.824; Liukin's was 37.823; the competition was the closest in gymnastics history, excluding the all-around finals at the 1985 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, where USSR gymnasts Elena Shushunova and Oksana Omelianchik tied for the gold. Liukin rallied in event finals to win the gold on the uneven bars and balance beam, ahead of Memmel; and the silver on the floor exercise behind teammate Alicia Sacramone.

In March 2006, Liukin placed first in the all-around at the American Cup. At the 2006 Pacific Alliance Championships, Liukin tied with teammate Memmel for first in the all-around, won the uneven bars title and a silver medal on beam, and contributed to the U.S. team's gold medal performance. She competed at the 2006 U.S. Classic as the defending all-around champion, but falls on the uneven bars and floor resulted in a fourth-place finish. However, she scored extremely well on the balance beam, and was the only competitor in the meet, junior or senior, to earn a score over 16.00 on this event.

In late August, at the 2006 U.S. National Championships, Liukin successfully defended her all-around, beam and bars titles, becoming a two-time senior National Champion. She was named to the U.S. team for the 2006 World Gymnastics Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, and was expected by many to be a strong contender for the all-around title. However, due to an ankle injury sustained in training before the competition began, she was only able to compete on one event, the uneven bars. In spite of her injury, in the qualification round, Liukin's bars set earned a 16.2, the highest score of any competitor on any apparatus in the meet. Her bars routine in team finals scored a 15.7 and helped the U.S. team win the silver medal. Liukin also qualified for the event finals on bars, where she took a small step on her dismount and finished with a 16.05, earning a silver medal behind Britain's Beth Tweddle.


Liukin's ankle injury required surgery, and the recovery period kept her out of both national and international competition for much of the year. In July 2007, although she was still recovering from her injury, she returned to competition as a member of the American team for the Pan Am Games in Rio de Janeiro. She competed only on bars and beam, contributing to the team's gold medal finish and winning individual silver medals on both events

Despite limited training time on floor and vault in the summer of 2007, Liukin opted to compete all-around at the 2007 U.S. National Championships. She posted the highest score of the entire meet on bars and the second highest score on beam on the second day of competition, winning the senior bars title for the third year in a row and placing second on beam. However, she also suffered several falls and errors on floor and vault, and finished in third place overall, more than five points behind Shawn Johnson, the all-around gold medalist

Following Nationals, Liukin was named to the American team for the World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, competing all-around in the team qualifying round and in on bars and beam in the finals. Liukin's score for her bars routine in team finals was a 16.375, the highest score of the day and, in the end, the entire World Championships. However, at the end of her beam routine, her foot slipped while she was setting up her dismount, prompting her to change her usual skill, a two and a half twisting salto, to a simple back tuck. While she lost credit for her dismount, she also avoided a deduction for a fall, and earned a 15.175.

Liukin's struggles with the balance beam continued in the all-around final, where she fell from the apparatus during her flight series. In spite of a 16.100 on bars, the highest score of the day from any competitor on any event, she finished the competition in fifth place. In the event finals, however, Liukin rallied and regained her World Champion title on the balance beam with a score of 16.02 She also earned a silver on the uneven bars, scoring a 16.300 after taking a step on her dismount.


Liukin in competition
Liukin performs on the balance beam at the 2008 U.S. National Championships.
Liukin performs on the balance beam at the 2008 U.S. National Championships.
Liukin performing on the balance beam at the 2008 Olympics.
Liukin performing on the balance beam at the 2008 Olympics.
September 3, 2008 taping of season-opening September 8 Oprah Winfrey Show at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Liukin (white in center), Shawn Johnson, et al. enter stage  in front of Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Garrett Weber-Gale, Cullen Jones
Liukin (white in center), Shawn Johnson, et al. enter stage in front of Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Garrett Weber-Gale, Cullen Jones
Liukin responds to Oprah Winfrey
Liukin responds to Oprah Winfrey

Liukin's first meet of the 2008 season was the American Cup in New York City, where she defeated 2007 winner Shawn Johnson to regain her title. She posted the highest score of the meet, a 16.600 on the uneven bars. In March, Liukin competed at the Pacific Rim (formerly Pacific Alliance) Championships in San Jose, where she led the American team to a gold medal and won the all-around and balance beam titles. In the team competition, Liukin posted an all-time high score of 16.650 on the uneven bars, but in event finals, she fell on her Gienger release move and took a step on her dismount, earning a 15.225 and taking second place.

At the 2008 U.S. National Championships in Boston, Liukin fell on floor on the first day of competition, but had a strong meet on her other events and placed second in the all-around behind Shawn Johnson. She regained her National Champion title on the beam and defended her national title on the uneven bars for the fourth consecutive year, scoring a 17.050 in preliminaries and a 17.100 in finals, the highest recorded score for any American gymnast at any event since the advent of the new Code of Points.In June, Liukin competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials in Philadelphia, finishing second behind Johnson, and earning a berth on the American team for Beijing.

2008 Olympics

Liukin performed all-around in the qualifying round of competition. She qualified to the all-around final with a score of 62.375, which ranked her second among all competitors and 0.35 points behind Shawn Johnson, her friend and Olympic roommate. Liukin also qualified to three event finals: beam, uneven bars and floor exercise; more than any other American

In the team finals, Liukin performed on three events: beam, bars and floor exercise. Her uneven bars score of 16.900 was the highest mark awarded in the entire competition. Liukin performed second on balance beam, matching her qualifying score of 15.975. On floor exercise, she stepped out of bounds, incurring a 0.10 point penalty. The American team earned the silver medal, 2.375 points behind China.

On August 15, Liukin performed clean routines on all four events to win the all-around gold medal with a final score of 63.325. Shawn Johnson took the silver medal with a score of 62.725. The win marks the third time that an American woman has won the Olympic all-around title; Mary Lou Retton and Carly Patterson are the two previous American gold medalists. It is also the fourth time in the history of the Games that two athletes from the same country have taken first and second place in the women's all-around. The last time this was accomplished was the 2000 Olympics, when Romanian gymnasts won gold and silver; Soviet gymnasts also won gold and silver all-around medals at the 1952 and 1960 Games.

In the event finals, Liukin earned a bronze medal on floor exercise. On uneven bars, Liukin and China's He Kexin both posted final marks of 16.725, and earned identical A and B-panel scores of 7.70 and 9.025, respectively. However, He Kexin won the gold medal, and Liukin was awarded the silver, after a tie-breaking calculation that took into account individual marks given by judges on the B-panel.In the balance beam final, Liukin finished second behind Shawn Johnson. With her fifth Beijing medal, Liukin tied Mary Lou Retton and Shannon Miller for the most gymnastics medals won by an American in a single Olympic Games.

Following her success in Beijing Liukin was named the USOC Female Athlete of the Month (August) and ultimately USOC Co-Sportswoman of the Year alongside swimmer Natalie Coughlin, the Women's Sports Foundation Individual Sportswoman of the Year, FIG Athlete of the Year and USAG Sportswoman of the Year. In addition she was ranked third in the Associated Press' 2008 Female Athlete of the Year voting.

In March 2009 Liukin was announced as one of 12 semifinalists for the AAU Sullivan award. The annual award honors the athlete who best represents "the qualities of leadership, character, sportsmanship, and the ideals of amateurism". The AAU Sullivan award recipient was announced April 15 2009


Highschool cheerleaders performing a heel stretch.

Cheerleading is a sport that uses organized routines that range from 1 minute to 3 minutes made from elements of tumbling, dance, jumps, cheers, and stunting to direct spectators of events to cheer on sports teams at games and matches and/or compete at cheerleading competitions. Cheerleaders draw attention to the event and encourage audience participation. The athlete involved is called a cheerleader.

With an estimated 1.5 million participants in allstar cheerleading (not including the millions more in middle school, high school, college, professional, or little league participants) in the United States alone, cheerleading is, according to Newsweek's Arian Campo-Flores, "the most quintessential of American sports."The growing presentation of the sport to a global audience has been led by the 1997 start of broadcasts of cheerleading competition by ESPN International and the worldwide release of the 2000 film Bring it On.

Due in part to this recent exposure, there are now an estimated 100,000 participants scattered around the rest of the world in countries including Australia, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Canada, and the United Kingdom.


Minnesota Gopher cheerleader Johnny Campbell

Princeton graduate Thomas Peebles introduced the idea of organized crowds cheering at football games to the University of Minnesota. However, it was not until 1898 that University of Minnesota student Johnny Campbell directed a crowd in cheering "Rah, Rah, Rah! Sku-u-mar, Hoo-Rah! Hoo-Rah! Varsity! Varsity! Varsity, Minn-e-So-Tah!”, making Campbell the very first cheerleader and November 2, 1898 the official birth date of organized cheerleading. Soon after, the University of Minnesota organized a "yell leader" squad of 6 male students, who still use Campbell's original cheer today In 1903 the first cheerleading fraternity, Gamma Sigma was founded. Cheerleading started out as an all-male activity, but females began participating in 1923, due to limited availability of female collegiate sports. At this time, gymnastics, tumbling, and megaphones were incorporated into popular cheers, and are still used today. Today it is estimated that 97% of cheerleading participants overall are female, but males still make up 50% of cheering squads at the collegiate level.

Cornell University cheerleader on a 1906 postcard

In 1948, Lawrence "Herkie" Herkimer, of Dallas, TX and a former cheerleader at Southern Methodist University formed the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) as a way to hold cheerleading clinics. In 1949, The NCA held its first clinic in Huntsville, TX with 52 girls in attendance. "Herkie" contributed many "firsts" to the sport; The founding of Cheerleader & Danz Team uniform supply company, inventing the herkie, (where one leg is bent towards the ground and the other is out to the side as high as it will stretch in the toe touch position) and creating the "Spirit Stick". By the 1960s, college cheerleaders began hosting workshops across the nation, teaching fundamental cheer skills to eager high school age girls. In 1965, Fred Gastoff invented the vinyl pom-pon and it was introduced into competitions by the International Cheerleading Foundation (now the World Cheerleading Association or WCA). Organized cheerleading competitions began to pop up with the first ranking of the "Top Ten College Cheerleading Squads" and "Cheerleader All America" awards given out by the International Cheerleading Foundation in 1967. In 1978, America was introduced to competitive cheerleading by the first broadcast of Collegiate Cheerleading Championships on CBS.

In the 1960s National Football League (NFL) teams began to organize professional cheerleading teams. The Baltimore Colts (now the Indianapolis Colts) was the first NFL team to have an organized cheerleading squad. It was the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders who gained the spotlight with their revealing outfits and sophisticated dance moves, which debuted in the 1972-1973 season, but were first seen widely in Super Bowl X (1976). This caused the image of cheerleaders to permanently change, with many other NFL teams emulating them. Most of the professional teams' cheerleading squads would more accurately be described as dance teams by today's standards; as they rarely, if ever, actively encourage crowd noise or perform modern cheerleading moves.

The 1980s saw the onset of modern cheerleading with more difficult stunt sequences and gymnastics being incorporated into routines. ESPN first broadcasted the National High School Cheerleading Competition nationwide in 1983. Cheerleading organizations such as the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Advisors (AACCA), founded in 1987, started applying universal safety standards to decrease the number of injuries and prevent dangerous stunts, pyramids and tumbling passes from being included in routines. In 2003, the National Council for Spirit Safety and Education (NCSSE) was formed to offer safety training for youth, school, all star and college coaches. The NCAA requires college cheer coaches to successfully complete a nationally recognized safety-training program. The NCSSE or AACCA certification programs are both recognized by the NCAA.

Today, cheerleading is most closely associated with American football and basketball. Sports such as association football (soccer), ice hockey, volleyball, baseball, and wrestling sometimes sponsor cheerleading squads. The ICC Twenty20 Cricket World Cup in South Africa in 2007 was the first international cricket event to have cheerleaders. The Florida Marlins were the first Major League Baseball team to have cheerleaders. Debuting in 2003, the "Marlin Mermaids" gained national exposure and have influenced other MLB teams to develop their own cheer/dance squads.


a sport that involves exercises intended to display strength, balance, and agility

Paul and Morgan hamm

Paul Hamm

Paul Hamm competed at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, with his twin brother Morgan. He won the silver medal in the team event and was awarded gold in the individual all-around competition, becoming the only American man in Olympic history to win the gold medal in that event.

Hamm held a good position after three rounds, but a disastrous fall on the vault, in which he nearly fell into the judges' bench, dropped him to 12th place and he looked to be completely out of the running for a medal of any sort. Indeed, had a judge and the bench not been able to break Hamm's fall, he might have fallen from the podium and sustained injury. However, numerous faults by the other gymnasts, combined with Hamm's performance on the parallel bars, returned him to fourth place after the fifth rotation. His high bar routine gained him a score of 9.837, winning him the gold medal by a margin of .012, the closest in Olympic Gymnastics history. His scores on the six disciplines were:

Hamm also nearly won the Gold on the Horizontal bar at the 2004 Olympics but was awarded the silver after a tiebreaker.

Morgan Hamm

(born September 24, 1982 in Washburn, Wisconsin) is a US gymnast. He is an Olympic and World medalist.

Hamm is the son of Sandy and Cecily Hamm. In addition to his twin brother, Paul Hamm, his older sister, Elizabeth (Betsy), is a former member of USA Gymnastics Senior National Team. She competed for the University of Florida, where she became the NCAA’s national balance beam champion in 1998 and was a seven-time All American. His father was an All-American springboard diver.


He competed at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney while aged 17, and the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, alongside his twin brother Paul, helping the American team win the silver medal in the team gymnastics competition. Morgan's contribution to this historic medal was vital: he performed on four of the six pieces and was the highest scorer for the team on vault and high bar, where other more renowned gymnasts had faltered. He also competed in floor and high bar finals, and only a tie-breaker kept him from taking bronze on the latter event.

Morgan was a member of the US team for 2003 world championships, where he helped them to a silver medal.

In February 2007, Hamm announced that he would return to competitive gymnastics. He competed at the 2007 Visa National Championships, on floor and pommel horse. He competed at the 2008 Nationals and at the Olympic Trials. He was warned by the United States Anti-Doping Agency in July for testing positive for glucocorticosteroid, and his results at the May 24 nationals competition were thrown out. Hamm claimed he had a legitimate medical need for the drug. [1] He was ultimately selected for the 2008 Olympic team.

He withdrew from the Olympics with injury on August 7, 2008, due to an ankle injury. [2] Alexander Artemev replaced him on the team.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Men Gymnastics Events

History of US gymnastics

gymnastics is a sport involving performance of exercises requiring physical strength, flexibility, agility, coordination, balance and grace. Artistic Gymnastics is the best known and most popular of the gymnastics sports governed by the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG). Artistic Gymnastics, typically involves the women's events of uneven parallel bars, balance beam, floor exercise, and vault. Men's events include floor exercise, pommel horse, still rings, vault, parallel bars, and high bar. Gymnastics evolved from exercises used by the ancient Greeks, that included skills for mounting and dismounting a horse, and from circus performance skills. Other forms of gymnastics are rhythmic gymnastics, various trampolining sports, and aerobic and acrobatic gymnastics.


There are many different events in the sport gymnastics, some are:
parallel bars, floor , Balance Beam , Trampoline, Pommel horse , vault,and uneven bars.