Olympic Gymnast Nastia Liukin Reveals Her Advice to Team USA Before 2024 Paris Games

Olympic gold medalist Nastia Liukin exclusively shared with E! News the one important lesson she wants Team USA gymnasts to take with them to the 2024 Paris Summer Games.

By Gabrielle Chung, Olivia Modarelli Mar 12, 2024 2:41 AMTags
Watch: Olympic Champion Gabby Douglas Announces Return to Gymnastics

Nastia Liukin is ready for some candid mat talk.

The Olympic gymnast has one lesson she hopes Team USA will take to Paris for the 2024 Summer Games. However, it has nothing to do with sports.

She just wants them to "try to be present and be in the moment," she shared in an exclusive interview with E! News at the Gold Meets Golden event on March 9. "It goes by so quickly."

In fact, Nastia—who won a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics—remembers "having a countdown" to the last day of competition because she was so homesick at the time. But now, looking back at the experience, the 34-year-old wishes she took more time to cherish the momentous occasion.

Luckily, Nastia kept a pretty detailed journal—which is why she suggests her fellow Olympians also keep a diary.

"I wrote in it every single day," she noted, "and I have that for the rest of my life."

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The 2024 Paris Olympics will run from July 26 through to August 11. And with Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas and Sunisa Lee vying for spots on the U.S. gymnastics team, this year's squad could be the fiercest yet.

"They are really well-trained," Nastia said of the Team USA hopefuls. "If anything, it's more so a mental challenge."


Alberto Tamargo/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit

And that's especially true in the age of social media, according to the five-time Olympic medalist. As Nastia put it, blocking out negativity can be a challenging task.

"As long as you feel like you're being the best version of you and you can stand true to yourself," she shared, "that's the most important thing." 

Nastia jokingly added, "I'm just glad that I competed in an era where I didn't have social media."

To see where your favorite Olympic gymnasts have landed, keep reading. 

Cathy Rigby

A pioneer in the sport, she was among the first female athletes to help popularize gymnastics in the nation, thanks to her strong performance at the 1968 Mexico City Games, although she never medaled. Rigby retired after the 1972 Olympics and is perhaps best known for playing the title role in the theatrical musical Peter Pan, which earned her a Tony Award nomination in 1991. 

She has been a familiar face to not only theatre fans but also TV viewers, due to serving for many years as an ABC Sports commentator, in addition to appearing on the series The Six Million Dollar Man. Rigby has also been open throughout the years about her previous battle with disordered eating. 

The star and husband Tom McCoy share two children, and she has two children from a previous marriage.

Mary Lou Retton

A defining cultural figure of the 1980s before retiring in 1986, she won five medals at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. Among those prizes was gold in the all-around, making her the first American woman to achieve this feat in the sport. She shares four children with her ex-husband, former University of Houston quarterback Shannon Kelley, who she split from in 2018. 

Outside of athletics, she became vocal in politics, supporting President Ronald Reagan along his 1984 reelection campaign trail and later speaking at the 2004 Republican National Convention. Retton made cameos in the films Scrooged and Naked Gun 33+1⁄3, and more recently, she became the first woman inducted into the Houston Sports Hall of Fame in 2020. 

The retired athlete was hospitalized for severe pneumonia in 2023.


Shannon Miller

With a total of seven medals, won during the 1992 Barcelona Games and 1996 Atlanta Games, she is the most-awarded female Olympic gymnast in history. After failing to qualify for the 2020 Sydney Games, Miller turned her focus to her schooling, earning a business degree and later a law degree, although she never took the Bar Exam. 

Miller went on to appear in fitness videos, published the 2015 autobiography It's Not About Perfect and is an advocate for preventing childhood obesity. She and second husband John Falconetti share two children. 

Kerri Strug

She is a two-time medalist best known for competing on the vault despite an ankle injury at the 1996 Atlanta Games and later being carried to the podium by coach Béla Károlyi. The memorable feat led to a whirlwind of media moments, including appearances on SNL and Beverly Hills, 90210, plus a visit with President Bill Clinton, and she retired shortly thereafter. 

Strug went on to become a schoolteacher and also got involved in politics, including speaking at the 2004 Republican National Convention. Her memoir, Landing On My Feet, A Diary Of Dreams, is in development as a feature film from director Olivia Wilde, with Thomasin McKenzie attached to play the athlete. 

She and husband Robert Fischer share two children. 

Dominique Dawes

She competed in the 1992 Barcelona Games, 1996 Atlanta Games and 2000 Sydney Games, winning four medals. This includes the team gold in 1996, making her the first Black gymnast of any nationality to win a gold medal.

Dawes retired after the Sydney Games. She has appeared in multiple music videos, including Missy Elliott's "We Run This" in 2006, and played Patty Simcox in a 1990s Broadway revival of Grease

The athlete was named co-chair of President Barack Obama's President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition in 2010, and she is also an advocate for autism awareness. Dawes and husband Jeff Thompson share four children. 

Shawn Johnson

She was among the stars of the 2008 Beijing Games, thanks to her four medals, including gold in the balance beam. Shawn retired just before the 2012 London Games, having already become a pop-culture personality due to winning Dancing With the Stars in 2009. 

She has remained a media mainstay ever since 2008, notching appearances on a long list of shows that includes The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Celebrity Apprentice, The Challenge: Champs vs. Stars, Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Who Wants to be a Millionaire and Family Feud. The star also led the Pledge of Allegiance at the 2008 Democratic National Convention and has authored several books, including the 2016 YA novel The Flip Side

Johnson shares three kids with NFL player Andrew East, who she married in 2016. The Olympian has been open about her previous struggles with disordered eating. 

Nastia Liukin

The gymnast nabbed five medals at the 2008 Beijing Games, including gold in the all-around. She retired just before the 2012 London Games and has appeared on such shows as Gossip Girl, Make It or Break It and Hellcats, in addition to making a cameo in the film Stick It. Nastia also competed on Dancing With the Stars in 2015 and released the memoir Finding My Shine in 2015.

In 2018, she and hockey player Matt Lombardi called off their engagement.

She went Instagram official with Ben Weyand, the operations vice president at Trive Capital, in 2022.

McKayla Maroney

Her two Olympic medals from the 2012 London Games include team gold. After winning silver in the vault that summer, she became a meme when her expression on the podium made her appear to be unimpressed. 

Maroney, who announced her retirement in 2016, has since transitioned into both acting and singing. She has appeared on a range of TV shows including Hart of Dixie, Bones and Superstore, and she released her first single, "Wake Up Call," in 2020. 

In 2021, she appeared in a Geico ad, during which she gave her infamous "not impressed" look.

Gabby Douglas

She was part of the gold-winning teams at both the 2012 London Games and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. She also won gold in the gymnastics all-around in 2016, becoming the first African American to do so. 

Douglas stepped away from the mat after the Rio Games and has become a prominent TV and media fixture. She published her 2012 memoir Grace, Gold, and Glory, was the subject of the 2014 Lifetime movie The Gabby Douglas Story and starred with her family in the Oxygen unscripted series Douglas Family Gold.

Other TV appearances include Kickin It and Undercover Boss, along with winning The Masked Dancer in 2020.

In 2024, she announced her comeback to the sport, sharing her hopes to compete in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Aly Raisman

The second-most-awarded American Olympic female gymnast behind Miller, Raisman picked up six medals between the 2012 London Games and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, including the floor competition gold in 2012, along with consecutive team golds.

Raisman, who retired after the Rio Games, released her memoir Fierce in 2017 and made a cameo in the 2019 Charlie's Angels film. She placed fourth on Dancing With the Stars in 2013 and appeared in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in both 2017 and 2018. 

Her dating life has included a high-profile relationship with Colton Underwood that ended in 2017, prior to him appearing on The Bachelorette and later leading The Bachelor.

Laurie Hernandez

The two-time medalist at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games was part of the U.S. gold-winning team. She remains an active gymnast but did not qualify for the Olympic Trials ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Games. 

Aside from athletics, Hernandez won season 23 of Dancing With the Stars, becoming the youngest-ever champion at age 16, and served as a reporter on American Ninja Warrior Junior. She also voiced a character on Nickelodeon's Middle School Moguls, which aired in 2019, and released memoir I Got This in 2017.

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