Texas Sports Hall of Fame to induct Olympic champion Nastia Liukin
Gymnastics legend joins seven other honorees at February 21 banquet in Waco
WACO, TX – February 9, 2017 – The Texas Sports Hall of Fame (TSHOF) announces that it counts Olympic champion Nastia Liukin among its 2017 class. Nastia, along with seven other exceptional athletes, will be formally recognized and inducted into the TSHOF on Tuesday, February 21 in Waco, Texas.
Anastasia “Nastia” Liukin, a Moscow native, grew up in Parker, Texas. Both of her parents, Valeri and Anna, were champion gymnasts. They moved to the U.S. when Nastia was 2 ½ years old. Valeri opened the World Olympic Gymnastics Academy (WOGA) in Plano, Texas, that soon became Nastia’s playground. When her talent began to shine, Valeri became her coach.
“Being inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame is a huge honor for me. My entire gymnastics career started and finished in Texas,” said Nastia. “It will always be home for me no matter where I’m at and currently living. It’s such a huge honor for me to be inducted. I’m really looking forward to this day.”
Nastia competed in her first Junior National Championship in 2002 at age 12 and earned the final spot on the Junior National Team. She competed at the 2002 Junior Pan American Games, contributing to the team’s gold medal, and placed second on bars, beam and all-around. By 2003, Nastia was one of the strongest junior gymnasts in the country.
In 2005, Nastia won her first Senior National Championship and finished second in the all-around at the 2005 World Championships. She continued her success in 2006, winning the American Cup and National Championship. In 2007, Nastia was on the gold medal World Championship team and earned an individual gold on the beam.
Nastia started 2008 by winning the American Cup. She finished second at the National Championship in Boston, complete with another national title on beam and her fourth consecutive title on bars.
At the U.S. Olympic trials, Nastia finished second and was named to the U.S. Olympic team for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Leading the team to a team silver medal at the games, she also won several individual medals: bronze on floor, silver on beam and bars, and became the all-around Olympic champion going one-two with her teammate and friend, Shawn Johnson. Nastia became the third American woman to win the Olympic all-around.
“I’ve looked up to all those people that have already been inducted. Mary Lou Retton did what I wanted to do my entire life which was to win the all-around gold medal at the Olympics, and for her to set that tone in Women’s Gymnastics in the United States, that’s something that I’ve looked up to my entire career,” said Nastia. “To join her and Marta and Bela Karolyi, who were a huge part of my success and my gymnastics career, is such an honor. Marta just retired this year, and my dad stepped in to take over for her so it’s interesting to see how life comes full circle. I couldn’t be more honored to be a part of this class of inductees.”
Nastia stepped out of the competitive spotlight for the next two years, focusing on other engagements until she set a goal to make the 2012 London Olympic Games. She advanced to the trials but did not make the team. Though her goal was not reached, Nastia received a standing ovation from 18,000 fans upon dismounting at the trials.
Nastia finished her competitive career with five Olympic medals and nine World medals – the second highest total of any U.S. gymnast.
Post-career, Nastia graduated from NYU with a sports management degree in 2016 and is an NBC gymnastics broadcaster.
Presented by Texas Farm Bureau Insurance, Nastia will join other inductees at the February event including former Houston Cougars NCAA women’s volleyball player Rita Buck-Crockett, former Texas A&M & Los Angeles Rams defensive back Dave Elmendorf, Texas A&M University track & field coach Pat Henry, former Houston Cougars NCAA women’s volleyball player Flo Hyman (deceased), former University of Texas dual sport athlete Eric Metcalf, Denver Broncos football defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and former Dallas Cowboys All Pro safety Darren Woodson. This class joins a long list of Texas sport legends forever being honored as a member of the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.
The February 21 event will begin with a reception at the Texas Sports Hall of Fame at 4 p.m., with a 6 p.m. banquet at the Waco Convention Center. Combination reception/banquet tickets are $200 each or $1,400 for a reserved table of eight. Banquet-only tickets can be purchased for $75 each, or $600 for a reserved table of eight. To purchase tickets, please call the museum at 800-567-9561 or visit http://www.tshof.org/buy-tickets/
About the Texas Sports Hall of Fame
The Texas Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, located in Waco, Texas, chronicles the heroes and legends of the Lone Star State sports at all levels, including high school standouts, Olympians and professionals. Established in 1993, the organization’s mission is to preserve the legacies of all inductees and the history of sports in Texas to educate and inspire guests of all ages. Home to over 300 Texas Legends, the museum houses the Texas Tennis Museum and Hall of Fame and Texas High School Football Hall of Fame. The Texas Sports Hall of Fame is located at 1108 S. University Parks Dr. Waco, Texas 76706. For more information, please visit http://www.tshof.org/.