Nastia Liukin, the Olympic gold medalist who was hoping to secure at spot at this year's Summer Olympics in London, watched her dreams shatter as she fell hard onto the mat during Sunday's finals. This incident follows a similar occurrence during Friday's competition, which found Liukin breaking form and landing on her back.
Unwilling to let her career end on such a down note, Liukin, who said you can learn a lot about a person during moments such as this, stood up, collected herself, and finished her routine despite the fact that her hopes for competing this July had come to a close. Her final score was 13.95, which, according to the Associated Press, wasn't close to the time she set during her silver award-winning turn on the uneven bars in Beijing.
20 minutes after suffering from the fall, Liukin was back in action, performing a beam routine that would earn her a score of 14.950. However, none of that really mattered in the long run. As she left the floor, the talented 22 year-old gymnast was met with hugs and standing ovations, a fitting end to such an accomplished career. Experiencing such a massive letdown certainly takes its toll on these competitors, who often spend several long years training for such events.
"Getting up after a fall is never easy," she explained. "It's always very tough. It shows your true character if you are able to get up and that's something I've been taught since I was 8 years old."
Liukin says that she's done with training, finished with competitions, and intends to head to New York for college in the near future. Regardless of where life takes her, the gymnast will always be known for her skill, determination, and heart.
"I kind of had tears in my eyes just seeing the 12 to 15,000 people on their feet cheering for me and it was an emotional but amazing way to end my career," Liukin said.