Thursday, March 26, 2009

Meeting Nastia Liukin

                                        Catherine and Nastia Liukin

                                Riding the LYNX, Charlotte's light rail

                                              Here comes the "train"

Last night, we headed up to Charlotte for an opportunity we've all been looking forward to, especially Catherine.  We got to meet Nastia Liukin, the 2008 Olympic all-around gymnastics gold medalist.  The function was uptown Charlotte so Brian and I thought it would be the perfect chance to take the kids for a ride on the LYNX (the fairly new light rail).  I'm not sure which they were more excited about... riding the LYNX or meeting Nastia.  So off we went in the cold and rain, the whole family, to have some fun.  The "train" ride was exciting and seemed so much easier than dealing with traffic and hunting for a parking space.  We arrived at the Charlotte Convention Center just in time for a reception sponsored by Brian's company, and Catherine got to do the very thing she's been longing for... she met Nastia face to face, got her autograph and a picture with her.  I'm sure such an opportunity would be exciting for most any old Joe but for a little girl who mentioned being in the Olympics as soon as she started gymnastics, it seemed the opportunity of a lifetime.  In fact, shortly after we arrived and Catherine met her, she looked up at me and said, "I feel like I'm living in a dream!"  There were little girls flipping all over the place, including Catherine.  She just loved it.  And the rest of us enjoyed it, too.  Nastia shared all about her journey to this point.  I'll sum it up by saying she has put countless hours into achieving her goal of being Olympic all-around gold medalist... but she put her eyes on the prize and set her heart on achieving what I would consider one of the greatest accomplishments in the world, as far as athletics goes.  As we were riding the "train" back to our car after the event, Catherine looked at me with this longing in her eyes and asked me, "Mama, do you think I could win the Olympics one day?"  My first reply began with telling her it would take lots of hard work.  And then she said, "But Mama, just tell me you think I can do it."  It really was a precious reminder that often what my children need from me is to know that I believe in them.  So of coarse I relied, "Absolutely I do... I know you can do it."  She is doing incredible in gymnastics as are a number of her teammates.  In fact, their coach just invited several of them to promote to a new team, the Mighty Giants, where they will continue to polish basic skills but begin to learn more advanced skills, too.  In stead of practicing an hour and a half weekly, they will have two practices a week for two hours each (4 hours a week total).  I'm a really proud of Catherine and am tickled that she has found one of her passions.  My desire is to be her biggest cheerleader and for her to know, without a doubt, that I believe in her as she goes after her dreams.


Heather J said...

WOW!!!!! How fun!!!! I can remember being about Catherine's age when MaryLou Retton was 'the girl' and oh how I wanted to be her, or just like her! I know this must have been a dream come true for sweet Catherine!!!! It must have felt so good to be able to witness the wonder of it all!!

Brandon, Corrie, Grayson, Claire and Gavin said...

that is awesome! i bet she will treasure that photo with nadia forever!!!