What Life Is Really Like After Winning Olympic Gold, By Nastia Liukin

Victoria Hoff
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Getty/Timur Emek

Next summer will mark a decade since gymnast Nastia Liukin was crowned all-around individual champion at the Beijing Olympics. For any 18-year-old, this most-coveted threshold of athletic glory could certainly be an identity in itself, a be-all and end-all. But that's a narrative the now 27-year-old would ultimately refuse. Instead, Liukin simply decided that this was only the beginning of the rest of her life.

That's not to say that Liukin isn't immensely proud of that particular accomplishment and the platform her title has provided. "I love being able to meet and work with young girls all across the country and world and teaching them to believe in their dreams and goals," she explains. "Whether it means being an Olympian, a lawyer, or a doctor, it's so important to never let someone tell you that you can't do something."

Liukin certainly takes her own advice: After officially retiring from gymnastics in 2012, she enrolled in NYU and earned a degree in sports management while juggling a stint on Dancing with the Stars and a special correspondent gig for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, among many other side projects.

These days, in addition to her personal website (and for the next few months, joining THE/THIRTY as a contributor), Liukin's focus is on Grander Sports, a mobile networking app that connects aspiring gymnasts with high-profile mentors (like fellow former Olympians Alicia Sacramone and Carly Patterson). It's a testament, Liukin says, to her unflagging passion for fitness (and quite literally passing the torch).

 

 

A post shared by Nastia Liukin (@nastialiukin) on

"Even though I don't compete for gold medals anymore, being active has remained the constant in my life," she says. "Working and living a healthy and active lifestyle brings me joy and energises me everyday." That said, Liukin concedes that the shift from world-class competitor to fitness enthusiast was not easy. Below, Liukin shares an intimate look at what life really looks like after winning Olympic gold—and how she stays on top of her fitness goals now.

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