US Nastia Liukin Wins Gymnastic Gold While Her Mother Goes Sight Seeing

Nastia Liukin won Gold Thursday night in the Women’s Gymnastics all-around Final.  She was spectacular and clearly the undisputed Gold medalist of the entire world.

But as she performed, her mother, Anna Liukin, went sight seeing.

“Actually, I wasn’t in the building at the time”, said Anna, “I decided to go and do sightseeing around the Beijing Area”.  Nastia had to text her mother saying, “I won, love you Mom”.

As Nastia hugged her father and teammates, Nastia’s mother was touring Beijing.

Her mother said she was too nervous to attend, “It would be too many butterflies in my stomach”.

At 8 AM, she texted her daughter to say “Stay focused and have fun!! Text me when you done.  Love you”.

Nastia later said, “I saw her a few hours after I won and it was the first time I had seen her since I left for the Olympics.”

Nastia’s Father, Valeri Liukin, was by her side every step of the way.

Photo Credits: Lluis Gene / Getty Images / NBC

Calamity Strikes USA Women’s Gymnastics Team, Manages Second in Qualification Round

A huge surprise and disappointment for the US women’s gymnastics team, Samantha Peszek from McCordsville, Indiana had to sit out the qualification round of the floor exercise due to an ankle injury. This placed the US team at a huge disadvantage. Only four would be able to perform, meaning every performance would count. Normally, they would be able to exclude the low score.

Bridget Sloan started the floor exercise. Bridget had to be the hero here, and the pressure was clearly on. She was spectacular, nailing landing after landing. Bridget had to go first and made it all look easy, but slipped at the end and slid out of bounds. Sigh, she had done so well up to the finish!!

Next up was Alicia Sacramone from Winchester, Massachusetts. Alicia is 20 years old and is the captain of this team. She too went well out of bounds, costing her ½ point. She nailed her final move, but the former world champion could not take the pressure and it means she will not advance to the individual event finals on the floor as a result of that slip.

Could any more befall the American squad? Nastia Liukin, 18, from Parker, Texas stepped up next, with a huge amount of pressure on her. Liukin was the first of the American team to perform on par with the Chinese, scoring 15.350.

Shawn Johnson, 16, from West Des Moines, Iowa had the world on her shoulders. Shawn is the current world champion in floor. She made a slight error, but nailed the rest of the routine. Shawn was superb, scoring a total 15.425, bringing the US within shooting range of the Chinese. China averaged 15.187. Despite the hurdles they had to overcome, the US averaged 15.012.

They Survive, Stumble Into Second Place In Qualification Round

The US team was in the qualification round without Samantha Peszek due to an ankle injury. Now, they had to face the vault. China averaged 15.456 in this event. That is phenomenal.

Liukin started and nailed her vault and scored 15.100.

Bridget Sloan executed a beautiful vault next and scored 15.275.

Shawn Johnson followed and executed a very difficult vault. She had a slight slip at the end, but scored 16.000 due to her superb execution.

Alicia Sacramone was last and had to do two vaults. She nailed the first one 15.850. On the second she made a slight step to the side. Her score, 15.625. The US beat China in the qualification, scoring an average 15.556 to China’s 15.456.

Awesome Ladies, Awesome.

Samantha returned for the uneven parallel bars. Her ankle was wrapped, but only the dismount could hurt the ankle. She nailed the dismount, showing her ankle was OK for this competition. She had a great routine and scored 14.800.

Bridget Sloan was selected for the team as a result of her performance on the Parallel Bars, but unfortunately she nearly missed the bar and had to settle for a score of 14.800.

Shawn Johnson had a killer session landing an incredibly difficult dismount perfectly scoring 15.325.

Chelsie Memmel totally fell off the bar. The mistake was extremely rare and at a time the US was clearly depending on her score. She has an ankle injury that only allows her to perform this event. And now, due to her slip, she will not advance to the individual event finals. Score 15.050.

Nastia Liukin has a chance at the Gold in this event, but this was not her day. The performance was great up until the end, and she blew the dismount, falling backwards onto the mat. Score 15.950. Even with the fall, she is so good, that she will still qualify for the individual event finals.

The team did not have a good session here, and China scored much higher on average, 15.662 to 15.281.

In the final event, the balance beam, Alicia Sacramone was wonderful in her exercise, and started the Americans with a score of 15.950.

Nastia Liukin next. Phenomenal peformance for a score of 15.975. We had hoped for better, but this was still awesome.

Shawn Johnson was next and had a routine that shined. Her smile as she nailed the dismount said it all, it was ear to ear. Her score? 15.975!

The US out averaged the Chinese in this event 15.850 to 15.762. They will need to be better to win the Gold.

The Chinese qualified first and the US Second. This will allow the Chinese to go last in the finals, which is a significant advantage. These ladies have a major challenge ahead.

Olympics, An International Phenomenon: Even Murder and Terrorism Cannot Overcome the GAMES!

People world wide can respect pride in their brethren.  It does not matter if you are American, Iraqi, Iranian, French, British or any other nationality.  Your brother or sister is your friend and garners your respect.  And so we find pride in our participants in the Olympics, as does everyone in the world.  We love this competition, no matter who wins.  But just as most people in the world, we hope our teams/participants win.  It is all about pride and patriotism.  And patriotism extends well beyond our borders.

Could Islam Greet the Olympics?

In the Muslim world, it is considered a crime, punishable by death, to
render a depiction of Mohammed. Many in the US misinterpret this law because they see it as a contradiction to freedom of speech, but, as Christians, we would like to see similar laws against mocking our religion. Watching Christ depicted in satirical ways is often difficult to take. Perhaps we should respect the Muslims here and have respect for all religions in this regard. It is not our place to prevent freedom of religion. Neither is it our place to condemn theirs. We hope to see the next Olympics in Dubai or an equally wonderful place in the world of Islam.

Terrorism and Murder?

One has to reflect on the Munich 1972 Olympics when terrorists massacred the Israeli team to project their fear and horror on America and Israel, but we here in America, and those throughout most of the world,  know that freedom of religion reigns.  Muslims can be champions as well as anyone else, and we love them equally.  There is no prejudice when it comes to the games.  It is all about being a champion.  Mohammed himself would appreciate that and love watching his champions win in the Olympics.  Peace.

Peace, America Loves And Welcomes All Nationalities…

Raj Bhavsar replaced Paul Hamm, who withdrew from the competition. Raj said, “This is a tremendous honor and the first feeling that comes to mind is that dreams can come true. You never know when it will happen, but with enough positive intention and belief, it can. I am ready, willing and able to take on this great opportunity. Unfortunately, this comes at the expense of a great athlete, Paul Hamm. My heart goes out to him. He did an admirable thing, and he will always be a hero in my eyes. I also want to recognize the other two alternates, who are an important part of the soul and spirit of this team.” Raj is among the top American gymnasts for these Olympics. He performed for Team USA when they had no room for an error. And his performance on the rings was his signature event. He killed it, and brought America a huge chance to compete for a medal. We love Raj and hope to see much more of him as the games progress.

Kevin Tan A Huge Example of America’s Free Heritage

Kevin is a captain of the American Gymnastics Team, but he looks more like he should be competing from China. This is not a coincidence, Kevin is of Chinese descent and has great pride in that heritage, as is the case with most Americans in the melting pot that is the USA. Most all of Americans come from somewhere else in the world, and that is what makes America special, because in America, everyone can be great. And Kevin is great.

Kevin, and his father before him, are heroes from China, and we all love and cheer him as our American hero in the Olympics. Isn’t that what we are all about?

The weakest event for the US is the Pommel Horse, but Alexander Artemev from the US proved that this won’t be the case in these games. He smoked the horse and delivered an execution score or 9.150 against a difficulty of 6.1 for a total score of 15.25.

According to Wikipedia “Sasha Artemev was born in Minsk, Belarus (then the USSR) on August 29, 1985. His father, Vladimir, was a member of the Soviet national gymnastics team in the early 1980s. His mother, Svetlana, was a high-level rhythmic gymnast. Artemev came to the United States with his parents in 1994 and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2002.”

Alexander, once again, is an example of an American Team born of international heritage. His performance was stellar and exemplary of what makes the US great. We love and welcome everyone. No nation is perfect, and no nation endorses only those that want to be endorsed. But the US endorses everyone that is within its borders. And we protect their rights and love them as our own, because they are our brothers and sisters.