Nastia Liukin‘s fall from grace was sudden, literal and heartbreaking on Sunday. But the 2008 Olympic individual all-around gymnastics champion was feeling grateful even in defeat as she failed to make the U.S. team for the London Olympic Games later this month.
“Thank you to the 18,000 people that gave me a standing ovation tonight. I will remember this moment for the rest of my life,” Liukin, 22, wrote on Twitter of the emotional outpouring from fans following a disastrous uneven-bars routine at the U.S. Olympic Trials in which she fell face down on the mat.
“Overwhelmed by the love and support. I would have never imagined anything like this … Thank you, from the bottom of my heart,” she added. “Most importantly … Thank u to my parents & special people in my life that always kept me calm, believed in me & shown their love & support.”
The Russian-born, American-raised Liukin, who had battled injury during her comeback attempt over the past nine months, wasn’t the only decorated U.S. gymnast to miss the cut. Alicia Sacramone, captain of the 2008 team, also failed to make the team despite a solid performance at the trials.
“Thanks to ALL of my supporters! You have been truly amazing! I leave this sport with no regrets and a kick ass comeback to my name!” Sacramone, 24, wrote on Twitter, while also posting several bible verses.
Sacramone earned 10 medals at the World Championships in her career, the most of any U.S. woman ever. Liukin and Shannon Miller each won nine.
Late Sunday, the U.S. Olympic team Tweeted the names of the five women who will represent the U.S. in the gymnastic competition in London. They are: Gabby Douglas, Jordyn Wieber, Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Kyla Ross.