Utah Utes gymnastics: Liukin a solid gold surprise

Published: Saturday, Oct. 10 2015 12:51 p.m. MDT

Beijing Olympic all-around gold medalist Nastia Liukin and Utah senior gymnast Nina Kim talk to each other just about every day via Blackberry or I-Chat, but Liukin was able to keep one big secret from her best friend for a long time. That secret was that she was going to attend Kim's Senior Night meet Friday at the Huntsman Center.

Liukin finally let Kim know she was coming on Wednesday after having planned the trip since last summer, having asked Ute operations director Cameron Linford many months ago when the Senior Night would be.

"She went to Beijing to watch me," said Liukin, who sat at the scorers/press table during the meet, took pictures and videos and clapped and cheered for all the Utes and several of the Florida Gators.

"I've been out here a few times, but not during competition season. She made it all the way to Beijing, I could make it to Utah. I know this is a really special night for her," Liukin said.

She was recognized several times in the airport earlier Friday and said she kind of wished she wasn't so well known because she really just wanted to support Kim and her team and not have any focus on herself. "I just want to be here today as her friend to support her. I want them to know I'm Nina's biggest supporter," Liukin said.

She said that she and Kim have become closer as their careers took them further apart, and now they are best friends. "She's pretty much the only person that I feel so close with," Liukin said of Kim. "I can share anything with her, and I can trust her, and she always understands everything, and I kind of feel the same way about her, so I'm just really excited to be here."

Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company