GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Olympian Nastia Liukin held the microphone as much as her mouth as she regarded down at 12-year-old Morgan Hurd, who awaited the query on the Nastia Liukin Cup on the Greensboro Coliseum.
It was Feb. 28, 2014. Hurd fastened her gaze upon Liukin.
“This needs to be in all probability the most important competitors of your profession up to now. Inform me what is going on on in your head proper now,” Liukin requested.
Hurd knew exactly how she wished to reply the query. In truth, she had practiced her response internally. Her face radiated with pleasure as she smiled from cheek to cheek as Liukin prolonged the microphone.
“Um, I am about 85 p.c nervous, and the remaining is type of pleasure, however nervous or like the opposite method round, truly,” Hurd confidently mentioned with a giggle as her eyes beamed at Liukin.
The Liukin Cup was a extremely anticipated second for Hurd. She was one of many youngest rivals, and it was her first main occasion after lacking the earlier season on account of her first elbow surgical procedure.
To not point out, it was Hurd’s first interview — broadcast on TV and in entrance of a giant crowd.
“She had advised me what she was going to ask me beforehand, and so I practiced that in my head, and the time comes, and I messed it up,” Hurd mentioned lately. “And I fully switched up the phrases. I used to be so embarrassed.”
9 years later, the reminiscence attracts a chuckle from Hurd, a Gators redshirt freshman. She acknowledges the magnitude of that second.
Undoubtedly, it was an enormous step in her profession, making ready the extremely adorned gymnast for what was to come back.
Hurd took one other step in her collegiate profession on equality evening within the second meet of the season on Jan. 13. In Florida’s Southeastern Convention opener towards Auburn, Hurd was scheduled to compete on beam. She opened the rotation with a 9.725.
Initially, the vault was the one occasion through which she was scheduled to compete. Nevertheless, on account of a warmup harm to Rachel Baumann, Hurd stepped in to shut out the evening for the Gators on ground.
It was her ground debut for the Gators and her first ground routine in competitors since her knee surgical procedure in January 2022.
Followers and teammates cheered as Hurd carried out to the music “Avatar: The Final Airbender Theme and Avatar Agni Kai” by Samuel Kim.
Hurd introduced the sass and delivered the vitality. She added an exclamation level to an already stellar evening for Gators Gymnastics as she earned a 9.825.
The efficiency represented a journey through which Hurd continues to discover what’s subsequent.
“Simply understanding what Morgan has gone by means of in her gymnastics profession over the past couple of years, overcoming accidents and coming again and pushing by means of and simply all the time coming and dealing to the easiest of her means with all of her coronary heart and may,” Gators coach Jenny Rowland mentioned. “It was simply so fulfilling to see her capable of get on the market and carry out.”
Rowland watched the routine as pleasure radiated outward. With every transfer and every talent, her arms went up within the air, cheering, clapping and celebrating the second.
“It actually made me so completely happy that they have been simply genuinely so excited, and their pleasure was so nice that they could not comprise it inside themselves,” Hurd mentioned.
The routine was enjoyable; Hurd may take a deep breath when it ended and have fun together with her teammates.
“It is actually simply a lot enjoyable as a result of I like the vitality the gang provides me, and I like placing on a present,” Hurd mentioned. “So I used to be simply actually simply so excited afterward, I nearly did not even really feel drained.”
As she closed her routine, Hurd ended it with a Gators chomp in unison with the gang on the O’Dome.
Her teammates raced to the center of the ground and mobbed her. This was a time to be celebrated and cherish one other step in the proper path on her journey.
In 2023, Hurd can mirror on the 2014 Morgan Hurd, who was doing her first interview with Nastia Liukin. What would she inform the 12-year-old model of herself that she is pleased with?
“You made it this far already.”
The world-class gymnast has made it whereas overcoming hurdles, coming back from a major harm, and bringing pleasure to these round her.
Hurd is now looking forward to the Gators’ second SEC matchup as they compete at Alabama on Friday evening.
“There’s all the time one thing to enhance on, regardless of how effectively you suppose you probably did the final meet, so I simply need to maintain taking steps ahead.”