This month, the Wide World of Sports Complex in Walt Disney World is hosting a very special new event. The inaugural ESPN RISE Girls Showcase, which is taking place from June 2-22 at the complex, brings together nearly 15,000 female athletes from the sports of basketball, gymnastics, softball, taekwondo, and volleyball, making it one of the largest gatherings of young, elite female athletes in the country. One of these athletes is Olympic gymnast Nastia Liukin. Liukin, who won a gold medal in the women’s all-around gymnastics competition at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, provided guidance to four young gymnasts from Central Florida at the festival on Friday.
One of the gymnasts, Clermont’s Olessia Dunaeva, said about Liukin’s visit:
“When I found out I was going to work with her I was so excited, because she’s my idol. It’s always a dream to work with someone you look up to in the same sport.”
At the RISE Girls Showcase, Liukin also got the opportunity to practice her basketball shooting skills and interact with the USA Basketball Women’s under-19 team, including fellow Dallas-area basketball player Alexis Jones. Liukin also discussed her excitement over the Dallas Maverick’s postseason run and her feelings about the 2012 Olympics in London. About the 2012 Olympics, Liukin says that she hasn’t “fully committed or decided yet,” but she expressed that she is still just as passionate about and dedicated to gymnastics as ever and expects to make a decision by the end of the year.
In addition to her activities at the Showcase, Liukin will be answering questions from Disney fans. Fans had the opportunity to send questions in for Liukin by tweeting them to @DisneySports or commenting on the Disney Parks Blog, and a video will be posted tomorrow where she answers these submitted questions.