Nastia Liukin goes for gold with ambitious flip before first pitch

Big League Stew

Olympic gold medalist Nastia Liukin knows how to entertain a crowd. She proved as much during the 2008 Olympics, when she took home the all-around gold medal after wowing the judges in four different events.

So when it came to throwing out a first pitch prior to Tuesday night’s Chicago Cubs game, Liukin knew she would need to kick things up a notch to impress those in attendance. She did not disappoint.

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Liukin tapped into her gymnast roots, performing an impressive front flip before delivering the first pitch to the plate. You don’t usually see that kind of commitment during a first pitch.

While Liukin has thrown out first pitches in the past, this appears to be the first time she’s added a flip to her routine. She was asked to throw out first pitches for the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Mets in 2014, and opted to go with a straight-forward approach for those.

Gymnast Nastia Liukin knows how to spice up a first pitch. ( Screenshot)
Gymnast Nastia Liukin knows how to spice up a first pitch. ( Screenshot)

But now that she has some experience, Liukin decided to mix things up. In order to execute the flip, Liukin had to take some steps off the mound. After landing the move, she wound up more than halfway toward home plate. Her throw was straight, but wound up sailing a bit high.

By incorporating a flip into her routine, Liukin may have opened herself up to judgement. But you won’t find that coming from us. The fact that she had the presence of mind to throw the ball after a front flip is impressive enough. There’s no way we’re going to nitpick anything about the throw.

We would caution the reader to do the same. Unless you can perform a similar front flip, you should probably just refrain from being critical here. Heck, even the stingy Russian judges would have given Liukin a perfect 10 on this one.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

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