Nastia Liukin is one of the Gossip Girls tonight
Olympic gymnastics all-around gold medalist Nastia Liukin makes her short but sweet appearance tonight on the popular-among-young-women (and some older ones, too) television series "Gossip Girl." The show is at 8 p.m. on the CW network. Liukin appears, briefly, at the Snowflake Ball, the annual winter dance held at the private New York academy where much of the show's drama takes place.
Liukin hasn't been ubiquitous like swimming sensation Michael Phelps, who has been everywhere (especially if you consider Las Vegas to be everywhere), but she's been a busy gold medalist.
Liukin appeared in a post-Olympics traveling gymnastics tour, launched her own line of Vanilla Star jeans, appeared in a gymnastics gala in Marseille, France, and was flying home from Moscow earlier today after appearing in a show produced by former Russian Olympic gymnastics star Alexei Nemov. During the next few days, Liukin will appear on the cover of Women's Wear Daily,according to her agent, Evan Morgenstein.
Liukin chatted while waiting for her flight connection home to Dallas after clearing customs Monday. She said that her "Gossip Girl" appearance lasts "five or 10 seconds" and that the highlights of being on the show were meeting stars Leighton Meester (Blair) and Ed Westwick (Chuck) and getting to wear a BCBGMaxAzria gown on the show.
Liukin had this to say about her gymnastics future: "I haven't publicly said I'm competing next year, but I am going to the next two [national training camps] in January and February."
Liukin, who trains in Plano, Texas, also said she was excited that the 2009 USA Gymnastics national championships are scheduled for nearby Dallas: "It would be a hometown meet for me, and I've never been in a big competition at home. That's exciting to me."
So it sounds as if Liukin will continue at least through the 2009 nationals and the 2009 World Championships in London (which features individual event competition but no teams).
It would be a great boost for the sport if a star such as Liukin keeps competing for longer than one Olympic quad. Like former Russian star and long-running competitor Svetlana Khorkina, Liukin conquered her teenage growth spurt and adjusted her gymnastics style to combine mature elegance with the degree of difficulty required by the code of points.
And Liukin still seems to love the sport.
"I've tried to keep in good shape," Liukin said Monday. "And I really am eager to get back in the gym next month and be really serious again. I didn't know if I would but I really am looking forward to getting back to training."
-- Diane Pucin
Photo: Nastia Liukin competes on the balance beam during her gold medal performance in the women's all-around individual competition at the Beijing Games. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times.