Saturday, October 13, 2007

Valeri Liukin
Valeri Viktorovich Liukin (Russian: Валерий Викторович Люкин, born December 17, 1966, Aktyubinsk, Kazakh SSR)) is a world class former gymnast for the Soviet Union. He was a 1988 Olympics gold medalist and the first man to do a triple back flip on floor and a reverse hect with full twist on high bar. Liukin began gymnastics when he was 7 and moved to Moscow to join the Soviet Junior National team. His rise in the ranks was consistent and his world debut came at the 1985 Friendship Cup.
At the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, Liukin was the gold medalist in the horizontal bar and the Soviet team won the team competition. In addition to his two golds, Liukin was the silver medalist in the parallel bars and All-Around. He medaled at each of the World Championships between 1987 and 1991 and was a member of the USSR National Team until the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Once his gymnastics career was over, he turned to coaching. He was the International Coach of the Year in 2000 and 2004.
Currently, Liukin and his wife Anna (a former World medalist in rhythmic gymnastics) live in Plano, Texas coach their daughter Nastia, the defending US National Champion and several other elite gymnasts. The gym he owns and coaches at is the World Olympic Gymnastics Academy (WOGA).

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