Nastia will make an appearance in Gossip Girl

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Jul 12, 2007
Nastia Liukin enjoying life in the golden age

[SIZE=-1]01:09 AM CDT on Thursday, October 9, 2008[/SIZE]

PLANO – Nastia Liukin was recently dining in Los Angeles. The producers of the CW drama Gossip Girl happened to be at the same restaurant. They'd heard, maybe during her radio interview with Ryan Seacrest, that she loves their show.

They passed her a note that night. Soon after, they contacted her management about making an appearance.

This stuff happens to Ms. Liukin now. You get perks when you're the Olympic gymnastics all-around champion and an Olympic medalist five times over. She belongs in this realm.
"It's very, very, very cool," said Valeri Liukin, her father and coach. "To see Nastia become a superstar and watch her, I cannot believe this is real. She's just riding the wave right now."
The wave includes meeting President Bush at the White House. She is friends with tennis star Maria Sharapova and is a Wheaties box and Us Weekly cover girl. She has appeared on OprahOprah ! – The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, Late Night With Conan O'Brien and The View, and has done a skit on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
But she is still "Nast," and the biggest change her family and friends see in her is the deep satisfaction and joy that come from having achieved her lifelong dream, which she did just more than a month ago in Beijing.
"I'm just trying to enjoy this time in my life," said Parker's most famous resident, who turns 19 this month. "It's definitely been crazy, but it's been so fun."
She'll be home Saturday – if only briefly – for another North Texas-adores-Nastia celebration. The 2008 Tour of Gymnastics Superstars, which includes fellow Beijing gold medalist Shawn Johnson, visits American Airlines Center. In terms of ticket sales, it's expected to be the biggest show of the 37-city tour.
Friends and family will be there – but Ms. Liukin won't even get to spend the night.
After the show, she'll get back on the tour bus that has become her temporary home and head to Little Rock, Ark. The tour started in Reno, Nev., on Sept. 7 and continues into November.
But during a quick trip home last week, over sushi at her favorite spot in a Plano strip mall near the World Olympic Gymnastics Academy, where she essentially grew up, Ms. Liukin took a little time to reflect on her life, post-Beijing.
The casual lunch party included one person who could understand: Carly Patterson. Ms. Liukin's longtime friend, who won the 2004 all-around Olympic gold and is launching a pop music career, will be singing Saturday as part of the show.
From the tour, Ms. Liukin keeps in touch with her mother, Anna, and father as much as she can. Anna wishes her only child would call more than text message, but the tour's band always seems to be playing and people are always around.
Mr. Liukin and his wife, who, Mr. Liukin said, were stopped every 10 minutes or so by fans congratulating them during a recent trip to New York City, were driving recently when he told his wife, "I still can't believe it."
Not a minute later, the teen sent her mother a message saying the same thing.
Her relationship with her father is different now. He has always been there, pushing and supporting her as they went for their dream. But that's done. During her balance beam routine on the tour, Ms. Liukin pays tribute to her parents. She performs to the song "Butterfly Kisses" and incorporates a ribbon, a nod to her mother's rhythmic gymnastics career.
"Now it's all up to me," Ms. Liukin said. "My family's always been behind me, and they always will be."
She misses her toy poodle, Ella, on the road. And she's getting used to the wildly varying schedule and long stretches of waiting. Ms. Liukin's life, after all, was always structured around training, recovering and training some more.
At the U.S. Olympic Trials in June in Philadelphia, Ms. Liukin mentioned the excitement-mixed-with-fear of having options. Of not knowing what came after the Olympics. She's had fun finding out.
She's hung out with Ms. Sharapova a couple times, including at Fashion Week in New York. Ms. Sharapova came to one of Liukin's shows in California. They're athletes of Russian heritage who have found a common bond.
Any new endorsements? Herbal Essences has joined her already long list. A book deal and a jewelry line are in the works. Vanilla Star Jeans will launch her signature jeans and tops for the holidays. She's signed on with a high-end fashion designer, details of which are expected to be announced soon.
Ms. Liukin's also getting involved in women's and children's health issues. The moves could result in long-lasting visibility, which is challenging for Olympians.
What's next? She can't say for sure, not when great opportunities can come simply in a passed note.
But for now, the plan is to go on vacation during the holidays – she'll make appearances in France and Russia and hopes to finally visit Paris. By January, she'll decide if she'll attend Southern Methodist University and get back into the gym for serious training.
The world championships in October 2009 in London could be in her future.
But Ms. Liukin doesn't have to say for sure yet. What a wonderful thing.
Aug 26, 2008
That was really long, but worth reading. That's pretty cool that'll she'll be on Gossip Girl. I don't watch the show, but I saw Shawn on The Secret Life of the American Teenager, and that was pretty cute. Again, thanks for posting that! :)
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