Before there was Simone Biles, there was Nastia Liukin.
The former gymnast stole the hearts of America at the 2008 Beijing Olympics when she proved that she was the best female gymnast in the world.
Liukin became an overnight star at those Olympics, going on to win five medals during the Games, tying with Shannon Miller as the most medals won by an American gymnast in a single Olympics. In 2016, Biles went on the tie that record, too.
Liukin won a bronze on the floor exercise, a silver on the balance beam, uneven bars and the team event, and gold in the women’s all-around.
She became just the third American woman to win gold in the all-around. Gabby Douglas would become the fourth American to win the event in 2012, Biles would become the fifth in 2016 and Suni Lee the sixth in 2021.
Liukin became a sensation -- and was easily one of the most famous athletes to come out of the Beijing Olympics, right besides Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt.
So, what has Liukin been up to since she won all of that hardware?
She attempted to qualify for the 2012 Olympics in London, but failed to do so at the U.S. trials.
It’s difficult to have a long career in gymnastics since there is always young talent coming up, so it wasn’t too surprising when she retired in 2012.
After she left it all on the gym mat, Liukin started to make some TV appearances on talk shows, as well as some minor acting gigs in shows like “Gossip Girl” and “Hellcats.”
Liukin had a fantastic run on “Dancing With The Stars” in 2015. It was the show’s 20th season, and Liukin went into the competition as a heavy favorite just because of her background and ability.
She was paired with dancing pro Derek Hough and the pair ended up at the top of the leaderboard almost throughout the entire season. They were eliminated in week 9, getting fourth place. Actress Rumer Willis ended up winning the show.
Recently, you can see (but mostly hear) Liukin calling the gymnastic competitions at the Olympics as a special corespondent. Not only does she bring great insight to the skills the gymnasts are performing, but she can also relate to what is going on inside their heads since she’s been in their shoes.
She provides fantastic commentary, and also brings some high-fashion looks to the gym. She’s showed off some serious glam at the Tokyo Olympics already.
Liukin may not be swinging high on the uneven bars anymore, but she’s still heavily involved with USA Gymnastics, and given how great she is at her current gig, we’ll probably be hearing her voice for many more Olympics to come.