Arts & Culture News

Plano Native, Olympic Champion Nastia Liukin Is Poised to Win Dancing With The Stars

There are some simple reality TV truths. All country artists will choose Blake Shelton as their coach on The Voice, the dads on Teen Mom will hate their lives, and Derek Hough will win every season of Dancing With The Stars until the day he dies.

In the uncertain world of reality TV, these are the facts.

So when we heard Plano-native and Olympic gymnast Nastia Liukin would compete on Dancing With The Stars with none other than five-time winner, professional partner and blonde, shirtless babe Derek Hough, we already began envisioning her celebratory back handspring.

We got the chance to email with the gymnast, and soon dancing, all-star between dance rehearsals and here's what she had to say.

Dallas Observer: Why did you decide to do DWTS? Nastia Liukin: I've been a huge fan of the show, and it just felt like the perfect time to do it. I've really missed performing, ever since I retired from gymnastics. I can't wait to get back out on the floor and perform in front of thousands again. I miss that adrenaline rush!

DO: Has Shawn Johnson offered any tips? (Johnson, an Olympic gymnast, also competed on the show with Hough -- and won.) NL: She tweeted me, saying she hoped I have as much fun as she did.

DO: Is Derek Hough as perfect as we think he is? Or is he a tough teacher? NL: He really is as perfect as you think. He is so creatively talented that it's insane. He is also extremely patient, which makes for a wonderful teacher.

DO: How many hours per day are you practicing? How does it compare to training for the Olympics? NL: It can't quite compare to training for the Olympics, but we train about 4-5 hours a day.

DO: What would we be most surprised to learn about DWTS? Or even about you learning how to ballroom dance? NL: It's the complete opposite from my gymnastics routines. The hand, hip, and foot placement is the total opposite from what my body is used to so it has taken me a while to adjust.

DO: We're calling it now. You know you're going to win, right? NL: Haha, thanks... BUT it's all up to the viewers!! I hope they vote :) I'm just really excited about this journey and process... AND about learning how to dance!

Liukin and Hough will compete on DWTS starting at 7 p.m. Monday, March 16 on ABC.

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Paige Skinner has written for the Dallas Observer since 2014.
Contact: Paige Skinner