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Pioneers host 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist at Jan. 10 meet

Olympic gymnastics gold medalist Nastia Liukin will be DU’s guest of honor at the Pioneers gymnastics team competition on Jan. 10 against Nebraska. The special appearance by Liukin highlights DU’s annual alumni competition and is the Pioneers’ first home meet of the season. The meet begins at 6 p.m. in Hamilton Gymnasium.

“We’re proud of the rich tradition of gymnastics at DU and honored to host a great ambassador for our sport who personifies the very pinnacle of gymnastics excellence — an Olympic champion,” says Athletics Vice Chancellor Peg Bradley-Doppes.

Becoming the third American woman to ever win gold in the all-around last summer in Beijing, Liukin performed clean routines on four events to win the all-around gold medal with a final score of 63.325. Mary Lou Retton and Carly Patterson are the two previous American all-around gold medalists. When teammate Shawn Johnson finished second, it marked the fourth time in the history of the games that two athletes from the same country took first and second place in the women’s all-around.

In the event finals, Liukin earned a bronze medal on floor exercise and silver medals on uneven bars and balance beam. On uneven bars, Liukin and China’s He Kexin both posted final marks of 16.725, and earned identical A and B-panel scores of 7.70 and 9.025, respectively. However, He Kexin won the gold medal and Liukin was awarded the silver after a tie-breaking calculation that took into account individual marks given by judges on the B-panel. With her five Beijing medals (one more coming from the team), Liukin tied Retton and Shannon Miller for the most gymnastics medals won by an American in a single Olympic Game appearance.

Tickets for the meet can be purchased by calling the DU Ticket Office at 303-871-2336. Tickets are also available on-line at Group tickets are available for 20 or more by calling Group Sales Manager Adam Sizemore at 303-871-2389.

DU is coming off the second consecutive berth in the NCAA National Championships.

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