INDIANAPOLIS, January 26, 2021 – Nearly one-third of the field is set for the 2021 Nastia Liukin Cup following two more qualifying events, which took place in Arizona and Florida over the weekend. The Cup series will continue February 5-7 with the Buckeye Classic in Columbus, Ohio, and WOGA Classic in Frisco, Texas.
This year marks the 12th edition of the annual event, which was launched in 2010 by 2008 Olympic all-around champion and 14-time Olympic and World medalist Nastia Liukin. A total of 18 junior and 18 senior USA Gymnastics Women’s Development Program Level 10 gymnasts will qualify to compete in the Nastia Liukin Cup, which will be held February 26 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis and will air live on NBCSN at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Last weekend’s qualifiers are listed below by competition.
- Sand Dollar/Whitlow Invitational, Orlando, Fla.: Lilly Hudson, Fleming Island, Fla./Florida Elite, senior, and Nina Ballou, Boca Raton, Fla./American Twisters, junior
- Fiesta Bowl Invitational, Chandler, Ariz.: Alex Theodorou, Phoenix, Ariz./Desert Lights, senior, and Olivia Orengo, Rogers, Minn./Twin City Twisters, junior
Following cancellation of the UGA Invitational scheduled for last weekend in Tinley Park, Ill., the Jaycie Phelps Midwest Showdown, which will take place February 19-21 in French Lick, Ind., was added to the Cup series schedule to ensure Region 5 is appropriately represented. All other qualification spots from series events which have been cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic have been awarded to the participating invitational that is geographically closest.
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.