Nastia’s mother, Anna Liukin, learned the news about her daughter’s gold medal in the women’s gymnastics individual all-around — in a text — because she was too nervous to attend the event.
Fitting, perhaps, for a young 18-year-old, whose favorite show on TV is “Gossip Girl.” She says her favorite character is Nate (Chace Crawford). She also likes “The Hills,” and says that she’s a bigger fan of LC than of Heidi.
Before the competition, Anna sent Nastia a text message, saying “Stay Focused And Have Fun! Text Me When You Done. Love You.”
Four hours later, Nastia sent a return text — “I Won Mom I Love You.”
“After you got the text, what did you do,” Billy asked Anna, a former competitive rhythmic gymnast herself.
“Well, um, I tried like a maniac, tried to get a taxi because I knew I really wanted to try to get back to the arena and I started crying so I think I spooked out a few of the Chinese citizens,” she replied.
“Did she text you back,” Billy asked Nastia.
“Um, honestly I’m not sure,” Nastia said. “I have like about 80 messages I need to go through, but I’m sure she did, but I saw her a few hours after I won and it’s been the first time I’ve seen her since I left for the Olympics. So it was a really cool moment.”
Dad, Valeri, on the other hand, was by Nastia’s side — coaching and calming — every step of the way.
It was exactly 20 years ago in Seoul, Korea that he barely lost the gold in the same all-around event.
“You won silver and she avenged and won gold,” Billy reminded him. “Did you ask her to do that for you as well?”
“Absolutely,” he replied, laughing.
“When dad hugged you when you came off, he said something in your ear, what’d he say to you,” Billy asked.
“Uh, he just said ‘Congratulations’ and ‘All your hard work has paid off,’” she said.
“So how are you, champ?” Billy asked.
“It still hasn’t really sunk in yet,” Nastia said. “Um, I don’t know just achieving my ultimate dream has been amazing — and, I don’t know, I’m still kind of speechless right now!”
“How about the Wheaties box?” Billy asked.
“Hopefully, I don’t know, we’ll see,” Nastia said.
Nastia and her teammate, Shawn Johnson, made history by placing first and second. The two are also roommates in Beijing.
“Who’s messy and who’s clean?” Billy asked.
“We’re both really clean,” Shawn said. “We’ve decorated our walls in all of our fan cards.
“The other girls are so messy,” Nastia concurs. “And we just love being organized every night. Like, we have to make sure everything’s organized and it’s been really fun rooming with her and sharing this experience with her.”