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Gymnastics - Liukin on the Mend
Three months after surgery on her ankle, U.S. champion Nastia Liukin says she is on the right track for the 2007 season.
"I'm still doing a lot of therapy and rehab but I'm definitely back on the road to recovery," Liukin told IG.
Liukin severely sprained her right ankle in October while training for the 2006 World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark. The injury limited her to the uneven bars in Aarhus, where she won silver medals with the team and on bars.
Liukin, who turned 17 on Oct. 30, had surgery in November to remove two bone chips from her ankle. She is back in the gym at the World Olympic Gymnastics Academy in Plano, Texas, where she is coached by her father, world and Olympic gold medalist Valery Liukin.
"[I'm doing] everything on bars and almost everything on beam, tumbling on the tumble track, running, a lot of conditioning and therapy," she said of her progress.
Liukin said changes are likely in store for her routines, including reordering her skills on bars and and tumbling passes on floor.
"But we really haven't really sat down and wrote out [new routines] because it's so early right know, it's kind of hard to say," she said.
Liukin said they will start to plan her return to competition after the next national team training camp, to be held at the end of February. Though she was recently featured in Newsweek Magazine as America's top Olympic gymnastics hopeful for Beijing, she said she prefers to concentrate on short-term goals.
"(I'm not thinking about the Olympics) any more than usual," she said. "There's basically a full two years [to go], plus worlds this year. I'm really not even looking toward the Olympics right now."
At the 2005 World Championships in Melbourne, Liukin won gold medals on uneven bars and balance beam and silver medals in the all-around and on floor exercise. She said she is over the disappointment of being injured at the 2006 World Championships.
"It was definitly hard watching the all-around finals and knowing I could have been there competing, but things happen and you can't go back and change anything," she said.
How does a severe sprain become loose bone chips? I hope she fully recovers; she's such a terrific gymnast. One would hate to see injury (especially a freak injury like the sprain on the trampoline) derail her career.