Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin
© FIG Photo

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., Dec. 24, 2008 – 2008 Olympic all-around champion Nastia Liukin of Parker, Texas, finished third in voting for the Associated Press’ 2008 Female Athlete of the Year voting. Teammate and fellow Olympic gold-medalist Shawn Johnson of West Des Moines, Iowa, was fifth. Basketball’s Candace Parker took the top honor, with golf’s Lorena Ochoa finishing second. Liukin, who trains at WOGA in Plano, Texas, won a total of five medals – one gold, three silver and one bronze – at the 2008 Olympic Games. Her five Olympic medals matched the existing record for the most medals won by a U.S. gymnast at a single Olympics, currently held by Mary Lou Retton (1984) and Shannon Miller (1992). Liukin is just the third U.S. woman to win the Olympic all-around gold medal. In addition to helping the U.S. Team to its second straight team silver medal, she also earned the silver medal in both the balance beam and uneven bars and a bronze in the floor exercise. She garnered the most medals of any female gymnast at the 2008 Olympic Games. Earlier in 2008, she won the all-around title at both the Tyson American Cup and the Pacific Rim Championships presented by Venus Gillette. Liukin also was first on the uneven bars and balance beam and second in the all-around at the 2008 Visa Championships, as well as winning the uneven bars at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials and a second-place finish in the all-around and floor exercise and third on beam. Her 2008 awards include Women’s Sports Foundation’s individual Sportswoman of the Year; U.S. Olympic Committee Female Athlete of the Month for August 2008; and USA Gymnastics’ Sportswoman of the Year. She is coached by her father Valeri, who won four medals at the 1988 Olympic Games, including two gold.

Johnson earned four medals at the 2008 Olympic Games: gold on the balance beam, and silver in the team competition, all-around and floor exercise. Previously in 2008, she won the all-around and floor exercise titles at the Visa Championships, where she also was second on balance beam. At the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, Johnson won the all-around, balance beam and floor exercise and was second on vault. She also finished second at the Tyson American Cup. In 2007, Johnson became the third U.S. woman to win the world all-around title. At the World Championships, she also won the floor exercise crown and helped the USA to its second world team title. Johnson trains at Chow’s Gymnastics with Liang Chow.

Female Athlete of the Year voting results
Candace Parker, 36
Lorena Ochoa, 35
Nastia Liukin, 30
Dara Torres, 29
Shawn Johnson, 18
Danica Patrick, 15
Venus Williams, 5
Serena Williams, 3
Lindsey Vonn, 3
Yelena Isinbayeva, 3
Jelena Jankovic, 2