How Literally Falling on Her Face Defined Nastia Liukin’s Life

From guest starring on Gossip Girl to winning an all-around gold medal at the Olympics in 2008, there really isn't anything that Nastia Liukin can't do. But the Olympic gymnast definitely didn't get to where she is now by just coasting through life. Instead, it took hard work, dedication and literally falling on her face. Yup, even Nastia Liukin falls. At Her Conference 2016, Liukin revealed that out of all the moments in her life—including winning gold in London!—it was a single moment at the Olympic Trials in 2012 that changed her life. 

Now, I bet you are wondering how an Olympic gymnast falls and stays positive about it. Well, Liukin learned from the best; her parents. Growing up in Russia, Liukin was surrounded by gymnastics at a very young age. Both her parents were Olympic gold medalists and she wanted to win a gold of her own. From the bars to the beam, the gym was her happy place and no one was going to take that away from her. As she got older, she only got better, and people started to really take her seriously. So seriously, that when it was time for the Olympic trials in 2008, she was THE “It” girl. 

But then she got injured. She had ankle surgery and during the trials that year, she fell a total of six times. But it didn’t stop her. “I wanted to know that I did absolutely everything possible,” she said, to make it to the Olympics. So even with an injury, she kept pushing forward. With a little help from the book The Secret, Liukin went on to make the Olympic team and, as we all know, win gold all-around that year in London. 

Although she made the team and pushed through the pain, there were many moments where she wanted to give up. Thanks to her mom and some inspirational words of wisdom, she stuck it out. Liukin remembers her mom telling her after she came home crying from practice asking to quit that “you can never quit on a bad day.” So that became her mantra, and one she wants us to remember. No matter how hard things are, quitting on a bad day is never the best option. 


If there's one thing @nastialiukin wants us to take away, it's this #HerConference

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After the 2008 Olympics, Liukin had learned just how hard it was to accomplish her dreams. She said, “If you set a goal for yourself and work hard for yourself every single day,” then you can make it all happen, even on the rainy days. “Remember what your dreams are” and everything will be okay, she said. 

This idea came into play when it was time to decide whether or not Liukin wanted to compete in the trials for the 2012 Olympics in London. At age 22, she was considered "too old" for the sport, but that didn't stop her. She didn’t want to look back at London, whether she was on the floor or commentating, and have any regrets.  

So she listened to her heart and went on the floor and competed at the trials. But instead of making it onto the team, she fell on the final move of her bar routine. As she laid on the ground and contemplated what she was going to do next, she remembered that mantra. She had to do everything she could in order to accomplish her goal so she got back up and finished the routine. And it was in that moment, when she was down and picked herself back up, that she received the first standing ovation of her life. 

Instead of being upset about her failure, she cherished that moment where she learned about perseverance and moving forward no matter how hard things are. “Life isn’t always about winning the gold medal” but instead, it’s about “those kinds of moments when you fall down, literally or figuratively,” and keep going. According to Liukin, no matter what, you have to finish what you started because in the end, everything happens for a reason—so never quit on a bad day.