NASHVILLE – Nastia Liukin (Plano, Texas/World Olympic Gymnastics) leads the junior women’s all-around competition after nearly sweeping all events in the preliminary round at the 2004 VISA U.S. Gymnastics Championships.
Liukin, who scored a 37.875, leads second place Shayla Worley (Orlando, Fla./Orlando Metro Gymnastics) by more than a point. Bianca Flohr (Creston, Ohio/ Flytz Gymnastics) is in third with a 36.700.
“Winning never gets old. I work really hard toward every competition, and every competition pays off,” Liukin said. “I know next year I will be right up there with them (seniors), so I trying to enjoy my last year as a junior.”
Liukin, who won the 2003 Junior National title, won three of four event titles (all but vault). Her highest score, 9.725, came on beam where she executed her entire routine without a wobble. Her only visible error was a hop on a triple full dismount. On floor, she tumbled a front layout to immediate Randi as her first pass, good for 9.500. She was clean on bars with a high layout Gienger and double layout dismount for a 9.425, and hit a clean Yurchenko 1 1/2 on vault.
Worley, who began the competition in seventh place, moved up after each rotation to surge to second. Her best score came on beam, where she displayed tremendous flexibility and good skill combinations for a 9.400. She had a high Hindorf on bars (9.300) and solid tumbling passes on floor earned her a 9.025.
Flohr, third, was second on bars (9.350). Her routine included a giant full, giant 1 1/2 to Tkatchev combination and a full-twisting double layout dismount. A flip flop to full twist on beam earned her a 9.350.
Jana Bieger (Coconut Creek, Fla./American Twisters) won the vault title with a double-twisting Yurchenko.
The junior all-around competition concludes on Sat., June 5, where the top 14 will be named to the Junior National Team.
Competition continues Friday with Sr. Men’s All-Around Finals at 7 p.m., followed by the announcement of the Junior National Team.