Three gymnasts qualify for 2016 Nastia Liukin Cup
posted on 01/25/2016

INDIANAPOLIS, Jan. 25, 2016 – Three athletes qualified this past weekend for the 2016 Nastia Liukin Cup scheduled for March 4 at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., based on their performances at the Alamo Classic and Sand Dollar Invitational. The Nastia Liukin Cup Series continues this weekend with four meets across the country and five berths to the final event up for grabs.

Lali Dekanoidze of Weddington, N.C./Southeastern Gymnastics Center, junior, and Rachael Flam of Houston/Stars Gymnastics Training Center, senior, punched their tickets to the Nastia Liukin Cup at the Sand Dollar Invitational. Dekanoidze posted a 38.325 to take the junior title, while Flam scored 38.925 as the top senior at the event. At the Alamo Classic, Jah'Liyah Bedminster of Lawrenceville, Ga./Georgia Gymnastics Academy, scored 37.850 to earn a spot in the junior competition.

Prudential Center will host both the Nastia Liukin Cup and, on the following day, the 2016 AT&T American Cup, an International Gymnastics Federation World Cup event, which features some of the world’s biggest names in gymnastics. Named for 2008 Olympic all-around gold-medalist Nastia Liukin, the Nastia Liukin Cup was first held in 2010 in Worcester, Mass.

The 36 participants in the Nastia Liukin Cup are selected through the Nastia Liukin Cup Series, which features 25 of the country's top gymnastics invitationals held throughout the United States. A total of 18 junior and 18 senior gymnasts will advance to the Nastia Liukin Cup. Senior athletes must be 16 years of age or older, and junior athletes must be 15 or younger. The final Nastia Liukin Cup qualifiers will be determined at six invitationals held just three weeks before the Nastia Liukin Cup.

The remaining invitationals participating in the Cup Series are listed below with the number of qualifiers in parentheses.

  • Chow’s Challenge, Galveston, Texas, Jan. 29-31 (1 Jr.)
  • Fiesta Bowl, Chandler, Ariz., Jan. 29-31 (1 Sr.)
  • Wisconsin Dells Vacation Classic, Wisconsin Dells, Wis., Jan. 29-31 (1 Sr.)
  • Circle of Stars, Indianapolis, Ind., Jan. 29-31 (1 Jr., 1 Sr.)
  • Classic Rock Invitational, Phoenix, Ariz., Feb. 5-7 (1 Jr., 1 Sr.)
  • Buckeye Classic, Columbus, Ohio, Feb. 5-7 (1 Jr., 1 Sr.)
  • Charity Choice Invitational, Tacoma, Wash., Feb. 5-7 (1 Sr.)
  • Pikes Peak Cup, Colorado Springs, Colo., Feb. 5-7 (1 Jr., 1 Sr.)
  • Magical Classic, Orlando, Fla., Feb. 12-13 (1 Jr.)
  • Chicago Style, Chicago, Ill., Feb. 12-14 (1 Jr., 1 Sr.)
  • Excalibur Cup, Virginia Beach, Va., Feb. 12-14 (1 Jr.)
  • Greensboro Gymnastics Invitational, Greensboro, N.C., Feb. 12-14 (1 Sr.)
  • Presidential Classic, Orlando, Fla., Feb. 12-15 (1 Jr., 1 Sr.)
  • WOGA Classic, Frisco, Texas, Feb. 12-14 (1 Jr., 1 Sr.)

Gymnasts who compete in the Nastia Liukin Cup will receive a Nastia Liukin-designed leotard and a warm-up from GK Elite; two tickets to the AT&T American Cup and recognition during the event; and the opportunity to meet Liukin and participate in a team photo.

Tickets for the Nastia Liukin Cup are currently available through gymnastics clubs participating in the AT&T American Cup discount ticket program, and will go on sale to the general public in the near future. For more information on the event, please go nastialiukincup.com.

A portion of the proceeds from the Nastia Liukin Cup benefits the Nastia Liukin Fund, a charitable fund in partnership with the National Gymnastics Foundation (www.usagym.org/foundation).

Past sites for the Nastia Liukin Cup are: 2015, Arlington, Texas; 2014, Greensboro, N.C.; 2013 and 2010, Worcester, Mass.; 2012, New York City; and 2011, Jacksonville, Fla.

Background information

  • 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, held by Mary Lou Retton (1984) and Shannon Miller (1992). Liukin's Olympic medals are: gold – all-around; silver – team, balance beam and uneven bars; and bronze – floor exercise. Liukin was the third of four U.S. women to win the Olympic all-around crown. She also won nine World medals in her career. 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 is now attending New York University in New York City, studying sports management. She also has founded the Shine Agency and is traveling the country as part of the Shine Tour, where she shares her experiences - the highs and disappointments – with young women to encourage girls to shine in their own lives by setting goals, dreaming big and having confidence in themselves. Liukin was a contestant in the 2015 spring edition of “Dancing with the Stars” and was the grand marshal for the 2015 Indianapolis 500. Liukin currently serves as a gymnastics analyst for NBC Sports and was a special contributor during NBC's coverage of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. In 2012, she was a member of the creative team and a cast member for the Kellogg's Tour of Olympic Champions, a national, 40-city tour that followed the 2012 Olympic Games. Liukin was coached by her father, Valeri, who has four Olympic medals from 1988 including two gold.

  • AT&T American Cup. The 2016 AT&T American Cup, a FIG World Cup event, is one of the most prestigious international invitational events and features an all-around format. The list of former champions comprises some of the sport’s best-known names, including Jordyn Wieber, Nastia Liukin, Jonathan Horton, Bart Conner, Paul Hamm, Shawn Johnson, Shannon Miller, Carly Patterson, Mary Lou Retton and Peter Vidmar. For more information, go to attamericancup.com.

  • Prudential Center. Prudential Center is a world-class sports and entertainment venue located in downtown Newark, New Jersey. Opened in October 2007, the state-of-the-art arena is the home of the National Hockey League’s (NHL) three-time Stanley Cup Champion New Jersey Devils, Seton Hall University’s NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball program, and more than 200 concerts, family shows and special events each year. Ranked in the Top 10 nationally by Pollstar, Billboard and Venue’s Today, Prudential Center is recognized as one of the premier venues in the United States, and welcomes more than two million guests annually. For more information about Prudential Center, visit PruCenter.com and Facebook, and follow @PruCenter on Twitter.