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The field for the 2021 Nastia Liukin Cup is beginning to take shape following the first qualifier in the 12-event series. Two junior and two senior gymnasts who competed at the Atlanta Crown Invitational in Duluth, Ga., last weekend earned berths for the February 26 final in Indianapolis.
In all, 18 junior and 18 senior USA Gymnastics Women’s Development Program Level 10 athletes will compete in the Nastia Liukin Cup, which will be televised live Friday, February 26 at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. This year will mark the 12th edition of the annual event begun in 2010 by 2008 Olympic all-around champion and 14-time Olympic and World medalist Nastia Liukin.
The series will continue this weekend with the Chow’s Winter Classic Invitational in Des Moines, Iowa. Qualification spots from series events that have been canceled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic have been awarded to the participating invitational that is geographically closest.
Last weekend’s qualifiers were Gabrielle Gladieux, High Point/Greensboro, N.C., senior (third Nastia Liukin Cup, 2019 junior champion); Bryce Wilson, Pearland Elite, Pearland, Texas, senior; Abby Bednar, Perfect Balance/Waxhaw, N.C., junior; and Madelyn Dorbin, Georgia Elite/Lilburn, Ga., junior.
Gymnasts who compete in the Nastia Liukin Cup will receive a Nastia Liukin-designed leotard and warm-up from GK Elite and will have the opportunity to meet Liukin onsite at the event.
Nastia Liukin. At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Liukin’s total of five medals tied the U.S. gymnastics record for most medals in one Olympic Games. Liukin’s Olympic medals are: gold – all-around; silver – team, balance beam, and uneven bars; and bronze – floor exercise. Liukin was the third of five U.S. women to win the Olympic all-around crown. She also won nine World medals in her career. In 2018, she was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame, and in 2019, she was named to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Hall of Fame. Liukin has graced many magazine covers and appeared on various shows, including “Gossip Girl,” “Make It or Break It,” and the feature film, “Stick It.” Liukin was a contestant in the 2015 spring edition of “Dancing with the Stars” and was the grand marshal for the 2015 Indianapolis 500. She currently serves as a gymnastics analyst for NBC Sports and is a founder of Grander, a global community for the next generation of female athletes that provides access to the people who inspire, resources to help achieve dreams, and communities of like-minded people with similar ambitions. Liukin was coached by her father, Valeri, who has four Olympic medals from 1988 including two gold.
USA Gymnastics. Based in Indianapolis, USA Gymnastics is the national governing body for gymnastics in the United States, encompassing seven disciplines: women’s gymnastics, men’s gymnastics, trampoline and tumbling, rhythmic gymnastics, acrobatic gymnastics, gymnastics for all (a.k.a. group gymnastics), and, most recently, parkour. USA Gymnastics sets the rules and policies that govern the sport of gymnastics, including selecting and training the U.S. Gymnastics Teams for the Olympics and World Championships; promoting and developing gymnastics on the grassroots and national levels, as well as a safe, empowered, and positive training environment; and serving as a resource and educational center for the more than 200,000 members, clubs, fans and gymnasts throughout the United States. The organization is deeply committed to creating a culture that encourages and supports its athletes and focuses on its highest priority: the safety and well-being of athletes and our community.