Most people you meet have some sort of wall. With famous people it's normally worse. They're guarded and understandably so. Anyone meets anyone and there's some level of reserve. Not Nastia. It was different in the best of ways. From the moment we shook hands and introduced ourselves in Victory Plaza outside our studios, it felt like two friends who had known each other for years. We talked for about 10-15 minutes and then started taping. Before we did, I asked her how much time we had because I had an inkling from how much I had to ask her and how much we were chatting that we could run a little long. She said "let's just start talking." We did for 55 minutes.
As I hope you'll hear in the interview, she's simply a humble person who's accomplished a lot. She worked hard in her field and made it to the top. But that's oversimplifying it by a lot. There were a few moments where the sweet Texas girl had a fire in her eye matched by any fire in the eye of any athlete in the competitive spectrum from Michael Jordan on down. Gymnastics may be a sport based on grace and performance beauty, but it's still a competition and I don't know how anyone can disagree after listening.
All I ask is that if you like what you hear, pass it on. Whether it's privately to a friend or on whatever social media outlets you use, pass it on. The more support this project gets, the more I'll get to do. I've never been more excited about something because one of the things I love about this industry is getting to tell stories. This is as good an outlet as any to do so.
One of the other things I love is to meet interesting people. With all the things she's done and is doing, Nastia certainly qualifies for that. It's a nice little bonus when you find out these interesting people you've followed professionally are good people personally. Of all the things I'll remember from the first edition of "1-on-1," it'll be that Nastia Liukin more than qualifies for that too.