Magazine article Newsweek

Nastia Liukin; Gymnastics: The Leggy Daughter of Two Champions Is Vaulting toward the Beijing Games

Magazine article Newsweek

Nastia Liukin; Gymnastics: The Leggy Daughter of Two Champions Is Vaulting toward the Beijing Games

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Starr

During the run-up to the 2000 Sydney Games, gymnastics guru Bela Karolyi visited a Dallas gym to appraise an Olympic hopeful. He was surprised to see a 10-year-old sprite cavorting among the elite gymnasts. At first Karolyi was annoyed by the distraction, but soon he found he couldn't take his eyes off the kid. "Her personality commanded attention," he says. "She had this total confidence--with no sense she didn't belong there among the best."

Today, at 17, Nastia Liukin commands the attention of the entire gymnastics world--and nobody questions her standing. She has won back-to-back U.S. all-around titles and, at the 2005 Worlds, took home more medals--two golds and two silvers--than any other gymnast. Now Liukin has her sights on Beijing 2008, where, with her dazzling repertoire, she could be America's breakout summer star.

No American gymnast has ever had a more exalted pedigree. …

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