History of The Nastia Liukin Cup

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Kiya Johnson - 2015 Jr. Nastia Liukin Cup Winner Photo: usagym.org
Kiya Johnson – 2015 Jr. Nastia Liukin Cup Winner
Photo: usagym.org

The Nastia Liukin Cup series is about to start its seventh season of competitions.  It all starts this weekend at the Atlanta Crown Invitational, the Twistars Let Us Take You to Rio Invitational, and the Legacy Elite Winter Classic.

Originally known as the Nastia Liukin Supergirl Cup, it started in 2009 with a partnership between Nastia Liukin and USA Gymnastics in order to provide a premier competition for the country’s top level Junior Olympic athletes.

Held the evening prior to the American Cup, the first Nastia Liukin Supergirl Cup was held in 2010 at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass.

Gymnasts qualify to the Nastia Liukin Cup by competing at any one of a number of qualifiers held throughout the season from around the U.S.  This year, there are a total of 25 invitationals that junior and senior athletes can use to try to qualify to the Nastia Liukin cup.  Each invitational has the choice to qualify one junior and/or one senior from its competition.

The 2016 meet series include:

  • Atlanta Crown Invitational, Atlanta, Ga., Jan. 8-10 (1 Jr., 1 Sr.)
  • Twistars Let Us Take You to Rio Invitational, Dimondale, Mich., Jan 8-10 (1 Jr.)
  • Legacy Elite Winter Classic, Chicago, Ill., Jan 8-10 (1 Sr.)
  • Brestyan’s Invitational, Medford, Mass., Jan. 15-17 (1 Jr.)
  • CGA Coaches’ Spectacular, Cincinnati, Ohio, Jan. 15-17 (1 Sr.)
  • Lady Luck Invitational, Las Vegas, Nev., Jan. 15-17 (1 Jr., 1 Sr.)
  • Star Struck Invitational, Atlantic City, N.J., Jan. 15-17 (1 Sr.)
  • Tampa Bay Turners Invitational, Bradenton, Fla., Jan. 15-17 (1 Jr.)
  • Texas Prime, Irving, Texas, Jan. 15-17 (1 Jr., 1 Sr.)
  • Alamo Classic, San Antonio, Texas, Jan. 22-24 (1 Jr.)
  • Sand Dollar Invitational, Orlando, Fla., Jan. 22-24 (1 Jr., 1 Sr.)
  • Chow’s Challenge, Galveston, Texas, Jan. 29-31 (1 Jr.)
  • Fiesta Bowl, Chandler, Ariz., Jan. 29-31 (1 Sr.)
  • Wisconsin Dells Vacation Classic, Wisconsin Dells, Wis., Jan. 29-31 (1 Sr.)
  • Circle of Stars, Indianapolis, Ind., Jan. 29-31 (1 Jr., 1 Sr.)
  • Classic Rock Invitational, Phoenix, Ariz., Feb. 5-7 (1 Jr., 1 Sr.)
  • Buckeye Classic, Columbus, Ohio, Feb. 5-7 (1 Jr., 1 Sr.)
  • Charity Choice Invitational, Tacoma, Wash., Feb. 5-7 (1 Sr.)
  • Pikes Peak Cup, Colorado Springs, Colo., Feb. 5-7 (1 Jr., 1 Sr.)
  • Magical Classic, Orlando, Fla., Feb. 12-13 (1 Jr.)
  • Chicago Style, Chicago, Ill., Feb. 12-14 (1 Jr., 1 Sr.)
  • Excalibur Cup, Virginia Beach, Va., Feb. 12-14 (1 Jr.)
  • Greensboro Gymnastics Invitational, Greensboro, N.C., Feb. 12-14 (1 Sr.)
  • Presidential Classic, Orlando, Fla., Feb. 12-15 (1 Jr., 1 Sr.)
  • WOGA Classic, Frisco, Texas, Feb. 12-14 (1 Jr., 1 Sr.)

In total, the Nastia Liukin Cup series will qualify a total of 36 athletes; 18 junior and 18 senior athletes.  Junior athletes must be 15 years old or younger and Senior athletes must be 16 years old or older.  At a qualifier, the athlete with the highest AA, all sessions combined, from the junior and senior division will qualify to the Nastia Liukin Cup.  If the gymnast with the highest AA in either division has already qualified to that year’s Nastia Liukin Cup, then the gymnast with the next highest AA will qualify.

All gymnasts who qualify and compete at the Nastia Liukin Cup receive a gift package that includes a leotard designed by Nastia herself, a warm-up from GK Elite, 2 tickets to attend the AT&T American Cup and recognition during this event, and get to participate in a meet and greet with Nastia which also includes a team photo with her.

Past winners from the Nastia Liukin Cup have gone on to have great gymnastics careers.  Some of these winners and their accomplishments include:

  • 2010 – Lexie Priessman: U.S. National Team Member; 2012 VISA Championships (1st AA – JR); LSU gymnast
  • 2011 – Grace Williams: 2012 & 2014 JO Level 10 Nationals (1st AA); Nebraska gymnast
  • 2012 – Charity Jones: 2012 JO Level 10 Nationals (1st AA); Oklahoma gymnast
  • 2013 – Alex McMurtry: 2013 JO Level 10 Nationals (2nd AA); UF gymnast
  • 2014
    • Senior (t) – McKenna Kelley: LSU gymnast
    • Senior (t) – Mackenzie Brannan: Alabama gymnast
    • Junior (t) – Rachael Flam: Stanford gymnast (verbally committed)
    • Junior (t) – Lauren Ramirez: Berkeley (Cal) gymnast (’17-’18 commit)
  • 2015
    • Senior – Maddie Karr: 2015 JO Level 10 Nationals (3rd AA); Denver gymnast (’16-’17 commit)
Maddie Karr - 2015 Sr. Nastia Liukin Cup Winner Photo: twincitytwisters.com
Maddie Karr – 2015 Sr. Nastia Liukin Cup Winner
Photo: twincitytwisters.com

This year the Nastia Liukin Cup series will culminate on March 4 at the Nastia Liukin Cup in Newark, N.J. at the Prudential Center.

In addition to a competition for the countries top Junior Olympic athletes, the Nastia Liukin Cup raises money for the Nastia Liukin Fund.  This is a fund that creates partnerships with fitness focused programs for children and supports clubs that have programs that assists athletes who need financial assistance in order to become involved in or stay in the sport.

Click here to find out more information about the Nastia Liukin Cup and for TV broadcast and live streaming information.

Good luck to all the young women competing in the Nastia Liukin Cup series this year!

Sources: usagym.org, nasialiukincup.com, huskers.com, Wikipedia.org, soonersports.com, lsusports.net, starsgymtx.com, rolltide.com, collegefantasygymnastics.com

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