Maranda Pleasant: What makes you come alive or inspires you?

Nastia Liukin: When I was much younger and still competing in gymnastics, I could rarely find inspiration outside of the sport. Today, I find inspiration in music, art, traveling the world, and meeting new people.

MP: What makes you feel vulnerable?

NL: I’ve had to make really big decisions, knowing the results were not always in my control. Through these moments, I’ve learned to be daring and take risks but understand that everything always happens for a reason.

MP: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be?

NL: “Live in the moment.”

MP: How do you handle emotional pain?

NL: Being with someone I love and care about to feed off positive energy is crucial.

MP: How do you keep your center in the middle of chaos? Do you have a daily routine?

NL: Sitting in a park or anywhere with fresh air and drinking a cup of hot tea while reading or writing in a journal. I also love yoga.

MP: What’s been one of your biggest lessons so far in life?

NL: At the 2012 Olympic Trials, I wanted to make a second Olympic team. I fell face first, and in a blink of an eye, my dreams of competing in a second Olympics were over. Even so, I got up, finished my routine, and saw twenty thousand people cheering. It was my first standing ovation. It was the most heartwarming experience of my career. That’s when I learned that you always have to finish what you start and I learned that some of life’s greatest lessons come with disappointment.

MP: What truth do you know for sure?

NL: Without my parents and their love and support in my life, I would not be who I am or where I am today.

MP: Tell me about your latest projects.

NL: I’m focusing on finishing my undergrad degree at NYU, and I am an analyst and correspondent for NBC Olympics. I also have my own gymnastics competition, called the Nastia Liukin Cup. It’s such a cool opportunity for these girls to compete on a big stage, on live TV. In 2010, a little girl named Gabby Douglas competed at the Nastia Liukin Cup and got fourth place.

Two years later, she went on to win the All-Around gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Through that, I also have my own foundation, the Nastia Liukin Fund, supported by the National Gymnastics Foundation in conjunction with USA Gymnastics. The NLF supports clubs that aid athletes who need financial assistance to be involved in gymnastics.

MP: Why are these important to you?

NL: Gymnastics has given me everything in my life. I will continue to stay involved and try to give back to the sport that has given me so much.

MP: What causes are you passionate about?

NL: I’m passionate about health, nutrition, fitness, and inspiring people to live a healthy and active lifestyle. In addition to the NLF, another cause I am passionate about is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I love visiting with the kids—they inspire me!

Nastia Liukin has five Olympic medals and nine world medals under her belt. After winning the all-around gold in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, she became a national sensation. Nastia dedicates her time to educating young women about the importance of healthy living.


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