nastialiukin1After winning all-around gymnastics gold in Beijing, Nastia Liukin decided to take a break from competing full-time in gymnastics to decide what to do next. After the U.S. won team gold at the world championships, Liukin announced that she was going to give the 2012 Olympics a shot. She took a break from training to talk with Fourth-Place Medal about the challenge she faces, the stacked U.S. team, and Morgan Freeman.
Fourth-Place Medal: What made you decide to give the Olympics another shot?
Nastia Liukin: I never lost the passion for the sport of gymnastics, and what's important is to be doing it for the right reasons. I knew that the passion was there, but I also knew that I needed a little bit of time off after training for so many years. I made my final decision earlier this year when I realized that, first of all, I missed it. I missed being in the gym, I missed training. I missed having something to feel like I had a fulfilling day.
Second of all, I knew I'd be in London if I'd be out on the competition floor or not, and I had an image of me sitting in the stands, wishing and hoping I had given it one last shot. I didn't want to have that image become a reality. I owed it to myself to give it one last shot, and enjoy the journey and the whole process behind it. It's definitely a challenge. It's harder than last time because I am four years older, and gymnastics is not one of those sports that gets easier as your get older! At the same time, it's been a really fun journey. I'm testing myself, and the challenge of it has been incredible to see how far I can go.
FPM: Did it inspire you to see that Alicia Sacramone and Shawn Johnson came back to competition?
NL: It was neat to be able to see Alicia and Shawn come back. I guess it made me believe that it's possible to get back to top shape and top form after taking off. It is really cool that we're all trying to make that Olympic team again, but it just makes it harder because there's only five girls making the team this year, instead of six. We're all fighting for that one spot.
Read More »from FPM interview: Nastia Liukin talks comebacks, training and Morgan Freeman