Valeri Liukin named USA Gymnastics women’s national team coordinator.
“I don’t know if I can say it’s a dream come true, but it feels like one,” he said in a phone interview. “I don’t know how to describe it.”
He comes to a system that brought the U.S. nine medals in women’s gymnastics – four of them gold – at the Olympics last month, and one that Liukin plans to work himself into as its leader. For the last four years, he has been the elite developmental coordinator, helping recognize and foster talent at the younger levels.
“There is no point in changing something that isn’t broken,” he said of the program that Karolyi has run over the last 15 years. “There is nothing new for me. I believe in it.”
“We are at the highest level there is,” said Liukin. “It’s not going to be easy – it shouldn’t be – but I have been a part of this team for many years in one way or another. I have been at The Ranch since 1999 and have coached several generations of national team members. I know the drill. I grew up in that system as a gymnast, and I’ve raised my athletes in that same system, too.”
“I’ve never been more proud to be his daughter,” said Nastia. “He’s always been my father, but he’s also been a role model and inspiration for me, so to see him achieve something that he has wanted to do for so long, to see him lead the U.S. team, that makes me very proud of him.”