|— Gymnast —|
Liukin on a 1987 Soviet stamp
|Full name||Valeri Viktorovich Liukin|
|Former countries represented|| Kazakhstan
17 December 1966 |
Aktyubinsk, Kazakh SSR, Soviet Union
|Height||5 ft 4 in (1.63 m)|
|Discipline||Men's Artistic Gymnastics|
Valeri Viktorovich Liukin (Russian: Валерий Викторович Люкин, born 17 December 1966) is a retired artistic gymnast who competed for the former Soviet Union. Liukin is the 1988 Olympic champion in the team competition and individually on the horizontal bar, and Olympic silver medalist in the all-around and the parallel bars. He is now the coordinator for the US Women's gymnastics team.
He moved to the United States in 1992 (when Nastia, his daughter was two and a half years old), but became a U.S. citizen until 2000. He is married to Anna Kotchneva and is the father and coach of 2008 Olympic champion Nastia Liukin. He is co-owner of the World Olympic Gymnastics Academy with longtime friend Yevgeny Marchenko.
Liukin began gymnastics when he was 7 years old. He moved to Moscow to join the Soviet Junior National team, where he made his world debut at the 1985 Friendship Cup. Coached by Eduard Yarov, Liukin was a member of the Soviet Union National Team until the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union.
At the 1987 European Championships in Moscow, he won gold medals in the all-around, on the horizontal bar, and in the floor exercise where he was the first gymnast to perform a triple back somersault. He won the silver medal on the still rings and the bronze on the vault. At the 1987 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Rotterdam, he won the team competition with the Soviet Union.
At the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, Liukin won the gold medal in the team competition, and was the co-champion on the horizontal bar with fellow Soviet gymnast Vladimir Artemov. Liukin won the silver medal in the all-around and on the parallel bars.
Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Liukin competed for his native Kazakhstan, competing for them most notably at the 1993 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships and the 1994 Asian Games, but did not win a medal at either competition.
Alongside fellow WOGA coach and close friend Yevgeny Marchenko, Liukin contributed to the success of Olympic champion, Carly Patterson. Most notably, Patterson won gold in the all-around competition at the 2004 Summer Olympics. She was the second American woman to ever win this title. Additionally, Patterson also was the only athlete to compete on all four events in the team competition of those Olympic games. Patterson earned a silver medal finish in the team competition and the balance beam final. Four years later, he became internationally renowned for coaching his second consecutive all around Olympic champion, his daughter, Nastia Liukin, to the 2008 Summer Olympics. In addition, Nastia contributed to team USA's silver medal finish in the team competition. She also earned silver on uneven bars, silver on balance beam, and bronze in the floor exercise.
Most recently, the notable gymnasts trained by Liukin include 2010 National Champion and 6-time world medalist Rebecca Bross as well as 2011 junior National champion and 2013 American Cup champion Katelyn Ohashi. Bross placed second in the all-around competition at the World Championships in London 2009 and teammate Ivana Hong placed third in the beam competition. However, Rebecca Bross and Nastia Liukin both failed to qualify for the London 2012 Olympic team. This resulted in Liukin's retirement from international and senior competition. Ohashi was too young to meet the eligibility criteria to compete in the Olympics. Bross's current gymnastics career status is "undecided", although she remains a coach at her old gym.
Valeri has taken a break from coaching individual elite competitors at WOGA since becoming the US Women Gymnastics elite development coordinator in 2013. He remains a big name in USA Gymnastics and also makes regular appearances at USA Gymnastics events. As national team coordinator Márta Károlyi plans to step down from her position after the Rio 2016 Olympic games, it is possible that Valeri Liukin may be a fitting choice to replace her. He was officially named as her replacement on 16 September 2016.
He married Anna Kotchneva, a 1987 World Champion rhythmic gymnast, while still competing himself. Their daughter, Nastia Liukin, was born in Moscow in 1989. In 1992, Liukin moved to the United States and began a coaching career. Liukin originally settled in New Orleans, but later moved to Plano, Texas.
He had a small cameo in the film Stick It as the spotter in his daughter's uneven bars routine.
- Hairopoulos, Kate (15 August 2008). "Parents' support, coaching and great DNA helped make gymnast Nastia Liukin an Olympian". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 5 September 2008.
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- "USA Gymnastics names Liukin as women's national team coordinator". USA Gymnastics. Retrieved 2016-09-16.
- ELITE WOMEN :: WOGA Gymnastics. Woga.net. Retrieved on 2 July 2016.
- Zaccardi, Nick (27 July 2011). "One Year Out: Bross could become U.S.' third straight golden gymnast". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
- Lawrence, Blythe (15 March 2012). "Top junior in the U.S. to display her talents". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
- "Valery Liukin (USSR)". The International Gymnastics Hall of Fame. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
- Zaccardi, Nick. (23 July 2015) Martha Karolyi plans to step down after Rio 2016 – OlympicTalk. Olympics.nbcsports.com. Retrieved on 2016-07-02.
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