The former Olympic gymnast opens up about her new relationship with the NFL punter

By Colleen Kratofil
July 12, 2019 12:00 PM
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Nastia Liukin/Instagram

Nastia Liukin is head over heels for the new man in her life — Detroit Lions punter, Sam Martin — despite knowing nothing about the sport he plays.

“I love it because I feel like I know nothing about football and I told him that right from the beginning,” the Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast tells PEOPLE about her NFL-playing beau. “I had no idea. And he was trying to explain a play to me once and I guess I was just staring off into space and he was like, ‘Wow you really don’t know anything.'” I was like, ‘No.'”

While they don’t share the same love of football, they do connect on their shared experiences working as professional athletes.

“I do kind of know the athlete mentality and what it’s like and having a tough practice,” Liukin, 29, explains. “Coming home after a bad day, I can talk with him and joke with him about it. Hopefully it just adds extra support, knowing what it is like to go through something like that and at that level. The amount of training and everything you have to put in to be the best that you can be.”

When he’s not in season they occasionally work out together but mostly keep their routines separate.

“I took him to Core Power once and that was it,” Liukin says about their yoga-going experience. “He walked in and was just drenched. I was like, ‘Okay, you’re not going to like this.’ He was like, ‘I’m never going back again.’ But he has a very specific training routine, so I just remember I also had that, so I try not to mess with it. The last thing I want is for him to pull something. I would hate for that to be my fault.”

Liukin says she’s been visiting Detroit a lot to spend time with her man in-between her own busy travels. “It’s really awesome because he totally understands my travel schedule and he’s very, very supportive and always super curious about what I have going on and super supportive. So I really love that. It’s been fun.”

She met Martin through mutual friends and was previously engaged to former professional ice hockey player Matt Lombardi before “amicably” ending their three-year engagement last summer.

Next up for Liukin includes reprising her role broadcasting at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo next summer and celebrating the launch of her new beauty product collaboration with Volition Beauty, Celery Green Cream.

Having discovered the powerful benefits of celery juice from a young age (she started drinking it at age 9 or 10), she wanted to transfer the veggie’s powers into a brand new beauty product. With help from the team at Volition Beauty, they developed Celery Green Cream which is formulated to tackle oil, pores and uneven skin texture while packing in a ton of hydration. 

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