Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 5/28/12

Nastia Liukin may or may not become the first all around Olympic gymnastics champion since Nadia Comaneci to compete in the next Olympics following the capturing of a world title.

But she put in an impressive performance Saturday in Chicago, her first competition since 2009, tying for third on balance beam at the U.S. Classic. Her score of 14.9 was just 0.10 points behind reigning world champion Jordyn Wieber and Aly Raisman, and that was with not doing all of her connections – which add to her difficulty score – and leaving room for improvement on execution.

From the AP:

Next up is the U.S. championships, June 7-10 in St. Louis, where Liukin plans to add uneven bars – her signature event and the event she needs to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. National team coordinator Martha Karolyi said she’s already told Liukin she’d like to see a score around 16 – a mark that would make her competitive with the best bar workers in the world…

The challenge is even greater for London because teams have been cut from six gymnasts to five.

“If I can help the team out in any way, it would definitely be on bars,” Liukin said. “My dad said great job that you did your beam routine, but if you can’t do your bar routine, then that beam routine is no use. That’s the reality of it. You can’t make an Olympic team with one event.”

She had to start somewhere, though.

For more Nastia Liukin photos

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, MSN, and Fox Sports

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.

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