INDIANAPOLIS, Jan. 9, 2017 – The eighth-annual Nastia Liukin Cup Series kicked off this past weekend with the Atlanta Crown Invitational and Twistars Invitational, where the first three athletes earned their spots to the 2017 Nastia Liukin Cup, scheduled for March 3 at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. The Nastia Liukin Cup Series continues this weekend with six meets across the country and seven berths to the final event up for grabs.
Lali Dekanoidze of Charlotte, N.C./Southeastern Gymnastics, and Megan Skaggs of Marietta, Ga./Gymnastics Academy of Atlanta, punched their tickets to the Nastia Liukin Cup at the Atlanta Crown Invitational. Dekanoidze, who will be competing in her second-straight Nastia Liukin Cup, posted a 38.175 to take the junior title, while Skaggs scored a 38.525 as the top senior at the event. At the Twistars Invitational, Kai Rivers of Franklin, Mich./Twistars USA, scored a 38.950 to clinch the senior title and earn her second trip to the Nastia Liukin Cup.
2017 marks the second straight year Newark’s Prudential Center is hosting both the Nastia Liukin Cup and on the following day, the 2017 American Cup, an International Gymnastics Federation World Cup event that 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 26 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 last Nastia Liukin Cup qualifiers will be determined at five invitationals held just two weeks before the Nastia Liukin Cup. The invitationals participating in the Cup Series are listed below with the number of qualifiers in parentheses.
The remaining invitationals participating in the Cup Series are listed below with the number of qualifiers in parentheses.
- Brestyan's Invitational, Medford, Mass., Jan. 13-15 (1 Jr.)
- Lady Luck Invitational, Las Vegas, Nev., Jan. 13-15 (1 Jr., 1 Sr.)
- CGA Coaches' Spectacular, Cincinnati, Ohio, Jan. 13-15 (1 Jr.)
- Legacy Elite Winter Classic, Chicago, Ill., Jan. 13-15 (1 Sr.)
- Star Struck Invitational, Atlantic City, N.J., Jan. 13-15 (1 Sr.)
- Tampa Bay Turners Invitational, Bradenton, Fla., Jan. 13-15 (1 Jr.)
- Sand Dollar Invitational, Orlando, Fla., Jan. 20-22(1 Jr., 1 Sr.)
- Kim Zmeskal's Texas Prime Meet, Irving, Texas, Jan. 20-22 (1 Jr.)
- Fiesta Bowl Invitational, Chandler, Ariz., Jan. 27-29 (1 Sr.)
- Circle of Stars Gymnastics Invitational, Indianapolis, Jan. 27-29 (1 Jr., 1 Sr.)
- Metroplex Challenge, Fort Worth, Texas, Jan. 27-29 (1 Sr.)
- Arizona Sunrays Classic Rock Invitational, Phoenix, Ariz., Feb. 3 – 5 (1 Jr., 1 Sr.)
- Buckeye Classic, Columbus, Ohio, Feb. 3-5 (1 Jr., 1 Sr.)
- Chow's Challenge, Galveston, Texas, Feb. 3-5 (1 Jr.)
- Pikes Peak Cup, Colorado Springs, Colo., Feb. 3-5 (1 Jr., 1 Sr.)
- Classic Spectacular, Minneapolis, Minn., Feb. 3-5 (1 Sr.)
- Gliders Invitational, Ontario, Calif., Feb. 10-12(1 Jr.)
- Chicago Style, Chicago, Ill., Feb. 10-12 (1 Jr., 1 Sr.)
- Greensboro Gymnastics Invitational, Greensboro, N.C., Feb. 10-12 (1 Sr.)
- Charity Choice Invitational, Tacoma, Wash., Feb. 17-19 (1 Sr.)
- Magical Classic, Orlando, Fla., Feb. 17-19 (1 Jr.)
- Excalibur Cup, Virginia Beach, Va., Feb. 17-19 (1 Jr.)
- Presidential Classic, Orlando, Fla., Feb. 17-20 (1 Jr., 1 Sr.)
- WOGA Classic, Frisco, Texas, Feb. 17-19 (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 Nastia Liukin Cup; 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 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: 2016, Newark, N.J.; 2015, Arlington, Texas; 2014, Greensboro, N.C.; 2013 and 2010, Worcester, Mass.; 2012, New York City; and 2011, Jacksonville, Fla.
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 five 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 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. Liukin was coached by her father, Valeri, who has four Olympic medals from 1988 including two gold.
American Cup. The 2017 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 Simone Biles, Jordyn Wieber, Nastia Liukin, Jonathan Horton, Bart Conner, Paul Hamm, Shawn Johnson, Shannon Miller, Carly Patterson, Mary Lou Retton and Peter Vidmar.
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.