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Page last updated at 15:48 GMT, Friday, 7 October 2011 16:48 UK

Nastia Liukin backs Beth Tweddle for London 2012 success

Nastia Liukin
Nastia Liukin won gold in the individual all-around event at Beijing 2008

Reigning Olympic all-around gymnastics champion Nastia Liukin says Beth Tweddle has the experience to cope with the pressure at London 2012.

The US athlete, who won five medals in Beijing, believes the 26-year-old Tweddle is still tough to beat.

"She has just proved you can still be at the top at any age," Liukin told BBC London 94.9.

"Not only is she successful but she is also one of the hardest workers I have seen. I definitely look up to her."

Liukin, 21, says the three-time world champion is an inspiration to other gymnasts.

"I think it is great for the younger girls in gymnastics to be able to have someone like that to look up to," she added.

"I couldn't say enough about her."

Tweddle won her first major medal in 2002 and she became the first ever Britain to win a gymnastics world title in 2006.

But an Olympic medal still eludes her. She finished 13th on the A-bars at her first games in Athens in 2004.

At Beijing she narrowly missed out on the bronze medal in the individual asymmetric bars - where Liukin took silver.

"Just seeing her bar routine is amazing and that is one my best events so we have always had a fun, friendly rivalry," Liukin said.

Beth Tweddle
Tweddle was the first Briton to win a gymnastics world title

Tweddle has decided to focus solely on the floor and the asymmetric bars for 2012 and Liukin believes she will be under a lot of pressure as she aims for her first Olympic medal in London.

"I can't imagine how stressful it must be to have an Olympic Games in your country and you're really going and giving it your all," she said.

But Liukin says the Liverpool gymnast can handle the situation.

"She is really doing this for her country because the Olympics are back here and of course she has personal goals," the Russian-born gymnast added.

"I definitely think that she can live up to that pressure.

"If I don't get it I would love for her [Tweddle] to take gold. She is such a hard worker and I really wish her the best."



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Tweddle shrugs off age concerns
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Tweddle wins European gold medal
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Super Tweddle wins landmark gold
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Gymnastics on the BBC
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Get involved in gymnastics
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