One of the first things I ever wanted to be when I grew up was a gymnast. My mom was one of my first coaches. She, too, was a gymnast as a child. Clearly, it wasn’t something I was able to stick with long-term (I’ll spare you the details of the injury that sidelined me permanently), but every time the Olympics rolls around, my heart flutters, I alternately hide my eyes and hold my breath.
I know you are familiar with my love of the Olympic Games.
Some of the most breath-taking Olympic moments I have witnessed have happened on the beam, the floor, the vault and the uneven bars. I saw Mary Lou Retton perform in person in 1984 in Los Angeles. But I’ve cheered from home for Shannon Miller, Carly Patterson, Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin. Every stuck landing was a victory. Every bronze, silver or gold was extraordinary.
And now, the current U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team will compete in London. The fresh faces of Jordyn Wieber and Gabby Douglas are the names we keep hearing. Though 5 time gold medalist Nastia Liukin did not make the team this year, she is in London to cheer on her teammates. And the moments she experienced in San Jose a few weeks ago that kept her from making the team are now among those she considers the most important in her career.
I was thrilled to have a skype conversation with Nastia last week. In addition to chatting about the inspiration for her career, how her parents helped to shape her path and how parents can motivate their young gymnasts, we discussed her new partnership with Fisher-Price and the launch of Fantastic Gymnastics Dora doll…. one she hopes will inspire young gymnasts as well.
What Olympic events are a ‘must see’ for you?