Importance of Nastia Liukin Supergirl Cup

Posted on January 11, 2011

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The 2011 Nastia Liukin Supergirl Cup and the 2011 AT&T American Cup will be held March 4-5 in Jacksonville, Florida. Qualification events for the 2011 Nastia Liukin Supergirl Cup begin this weekend.

Last year was the inaugural competition of the Supergirl Cup, a unique event featuring US athletes from the Junior Olympic program.

The Junior Olympic  (J.O.) program is where children in the US begin competitive gymnastics. The Elite program is for gymnasts who compete to make the national team and represent the US at World Championships and Olympic Games.

Last year, I watched the live webcast of the 2010 Supergirl Cup on www.universalsports.com.

The Supergirl Cup is one of my favorite competitions to watch because of its diversity of athletes, ability to fast-track talented athletes to the elite program and experience for the athletes.

The gymnasts range in age, gyms, skill level and aspirations. Some dream of being an Olympian and intend to try out for the elite level. Some continue to compete in the J.O. program and aim to compete in collegiate gymnastics.

Two up and coming elite stars gained attention during last year’s event: Gabrielle Douglas and the winner Lexie Priessman. Both qualified for the elite program last year and made the Junior National Team. Only exceptional athletes could have made such a leap in the US system. Both have difficult skills, good execution and are incredibly powerful. They still need to learn to perform their artistry and overcome competition nerves. But they are well on their way.

Many of the other Supergirl Cup participants received college scholarships for gymnastics. More about last year’s participants can be found here.

I’m looking forward to seeing the new athletes who aspire to make the national team. The Nastia Liukin Supergirl is a great event for US gymnastics because it enables gymnasts to compete against high level athletes, to compete on a podium and to experience the pressure of performing during a broadcast event. Both those who have elite and collegiate aspirations can gain valuable experience from this competition.

And of course, they get to meet—and compete in an event named for—the 2008 Olympic All Around Champion Nastia Liukin.

Learn more about the Supergirl Cup and watch the webcast of the 2010 event here.

Photo of Nastia Liukin and Lexie Priessman: Warner Brothers Supergirl

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