Posted June 30, 2012 on AP on Fox
PLAYERS: Nastia Liukin
Gabby Douglas has impeccable timing. The perky 16-year-old upset world champion Jordyn Wieber for the first time Sunday night, winning the Olympic trials and the lone guaranteed spot for the London Games. Douglas, bolstered by a dazzling uneven bars routine that would make an acrobat sweat, beat Wieber by a mere 0.1 points after finishing a close second at last month's US championship and the first night of trials. Wieber soon joined her on what will be the strongest team the Americans have had since 1996, one that will be not just favored but expected to bring home only the second Olympic team gold. McKayla Maroney and Aly Raisman, who were with Douglas and Wieber on the US team that won the title at last fall's world championships, also made the team, as did Kyla Ross. Douglas led the team onto the floor as they were introduced, biting her lip to hold back tears. One gymnast who won't be headed to London, at least not to compete, is Olympic champion Nastia Liukin. Liukin announced her comeback last October, hoping to become the first reigning Olympic champion to return to the games since Nadia Comaneci in 1980. But desire and grit are no match for shoulder problems and a three-year layoff, and Liukin's glittering career sputtered to an end. She fell on uneven bars, her signature event, when her fingertips could only brush the bar after a release move, and needed to take a step back after landing her dismount on the edge of the mat. She regrouped with a nice balance beam routine. As she walked off the podium, her father and coach, Valeri, greeted her with a kiss and fans began to stand. Tears filled Liukin's eyes as she waved and said goodbye, to the crowd, her comeback and a career that includes five Olympic medals and four world titles. But Liukin leaves knowing the Americans are in great hands. Wieber has been considered the favorite for Olympic gold since winning the world title last fall, her biggest competition expected to come from Russians Aliya Mustafina and Viktoria Komova. Turns out, her real rival was right here at home. Douglas served notice of her potential at this year's American Cup, where she actually beating Wieber, though her scores didn't count because she was competing as an alternate. She came up just short at nationals and again the first night of trials. On Sunday night, however, Douglas would not be denied again. Needing to score a 15.25 or better to pass Wieber, Douglas put on a show worthy of Vegas on the floor exercise. Basketball players would be envious of the hops she gets on her tumbling runs, yet she lands them with such security there's got to be some glue somewhere on those feet. She had the crowd rocking and rolling to her techno music, and she wore a grin so bright it could have powered the arena had the lights went out. When she finished, coach Liang Chow greeted her with a bear hug. And that was before they saw her score: a 15.3 that gave her a total of 123.45, just enough to hold off Wieber. Only the trials winner was guaranteed a spot in London, and it was clear from the start that Douglas was going to give Wieber a heck of a fight. She opened with a massive vault, soaring high above the table with her legs pencil-straight and body tightly coiled, and she needed only a small hop to the side to steady herself on her landing. She broke into a big grin as she thrust her hands in the air, and she trotted off the podium with her fists still raised. Her score of 16 -- including a huge 9.5 for execution -- moved her into first place, a spot she never relinquished. She extended the lead on uneven bars, her signature event. Douglas is so light she looks like a hummingbird flitting between the bars, and she gets such great height on her release moves she could have dusted off the Jumbotron. But it is her grace that makes her stand out, looking like a ballerina in a jewelry box as she pirouetted on the high bar. There's some hard-core steel beneath that pretty package, however. On one transition, Douglas' hand seemed to slip on the bar, something that would have made most gymnasts go flying. But she kept right on going, never even hesitating. When she landed her dismount -- two layout somersaults -- with only the slightest of hops, the arena responded with a roar that was probably heard in San Francisco. Her score of 15.9 gave her a 1.35-point lead over Wieber with two events left. But balance beam has been giving Douglas problems all month -- a fall the second day of the US championships cost her the title -- and Sunday night was no different. She had to windmill her arms to stay upright after a series of back handsprings, and she rocked and swayed for another several seconds after a back somersault. Her score of 14.85 was her lowest of the two-day trials, and cut her lead to 0.6 going into the final rotation -- leaving plenty of room for Wieber, who finished on vault, the highest-scoring event. Wieber didn't get her normal height on vault, however, and landed low, needing to take a step back to steady herself. A minor error, for sure, but every tenth counts when the Olympics are on the line.

Nastia Liukin faceplants on uneven bars

Subway spokeswoman Nastia Liukin is one of the more popular past U.S. Olympic athletes around. She’s one of the faces of the USA gymnastics franchise, and one of the most successful competitors in Beijing 2008. But despite all her medals, she’s not making the Olympic team this summer. Her faceplant on the uneven bars tonight cemented her status as not a part of the London 2012...

Nastia Liukin falls off the uneven bars and does a face plant

Here is the video of former USA Olympian gymnast Nastia Liukin falling off the uneven bars and doing a face plant during the 2012 Olympic Trials in San Jose, California.Liukin will most likely not make the USA team this year and go to the Olympics in London. She took a hard fall and composed herself immediately and went back on the bars again.She received a nice ovation from the fans.

Nastia Liukin Is Doing The Uneven Bars Incorrectly

Nastia Liukin took a nasty face-plant off the uneven bars at the 2012 Olympic Trials this past week, and the video is glorious. I have seen some good wipe-outs during my time, but this one is her falling DIRECTLY on her face which makes for a solid viral video. In the face! In good news, she wasn’t hurt badly except a minor bruise to her ego. via Sports Bank Article found on: Cosby Sweaters

Nastia Liukin Faceplants on Uneven Bars During U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team Trials (Video)

Nastia Liukin went out with a bang on Sunday. The only problem is that it wasn't necessarily a positive. That bang was actually the sound of her faceplanting on the uneven bars during the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team Trials, meaning she likely won't participate in this summer's London Olympics. The fall led to a lackluster score of 13.950 and subsequently a 10th place...

Good lord, Nastia Liukin faceplants on uneven bars

Nastia Liukin face planted on uneven bars competition over the weekend, ending her Olympic dream. No word on whether that was a Bob's posturpedic or not. Why not click the Google +1 & the retweet... Full story at Bob's Blitz ~

Liukin falters but resolute in final competition

Nastia Liukin's bid to become the first defending Olympic women's gymnastics champion to return to the ensuing games since 1980 ended Sunday night after she struggled to get through her bars routine during the final night of the U.S. trials. The five-time Olympic medalist, hindered by shoulder injuries during her year-long comeback, slammed into the mat midway through her...

GIFterpiece Theatre: Nastia Liukin faceplant, Anderson Cooper and a perverted Ted

Nastia Liukin’s Flawless Finale

It was excruciating to watch. Apart from the chilling thud, seeing a young woman’s hopes and dreams crumble before my eyes was heart wrenching. I’m sure it felt exponentially worse for Nastia Liukin, lying face down on a mat in front of millions of people, Olympic dream vaporized. Then, something extraordinary happened. She got up, jumped back on the uneven bars and finished...

Nastia Liukin Faceplants At Olympic Trials

Video: What the hell is a spotter for?  

Nastia Liukin’s 2012 U.S. Olympic team chances worsen

Subway spokeswoman Nastia Liukin is one of the more popular potential U.S. Olympic athletes prepping for London in 73 days. She’s one of the faces of the USA gymnastics franchise, and one of the most successful competitors in Beijing 2008. But despite all her medals, she may not make the Olympic team this summer. Her showing at the Olympic trials today was not so good. Here’s...

Last gasp for '08 Olympic gymnasts

So this is what the end looks like for the reigning Olympic gymnastics all-around gold medalist Nastia Liukin: She looked to be putting on a stellar routine on the uneven bars at the U.S. Olympic trials on Friday night. And a stellar routine was much needed. After a post-Beijing hiatus from the sport, after faltering at nationals earlier this month, the 22-year-old dynamo had to...

Nastia Liukin Face-Plants Into the Sunset

She's still hot.

Wieber halfway to London after 1st day of trials

While most folks are already counting Jordyn Wieber's Olympic medals, she and coach John Geddert insist they're still worried about making the U.S. team. Almost there. While everyone else was wobbling and bobbling, the reigning world champion breezed through the first day of the Olympic trials Friday night, putting her in good position to automatically qualify for the five...

The dark side of gymnastics: gravity

The gravitational pull never goes away. Make a little slip up and it's there to grab you, as Nastia Liukin discovered at the U.S. Olympic qualifying event.
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