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Nastia Liukin, Gymnastic's Stars Set to Shine in Chicago

On Saturday, Chicago will be the host to several tiny, world-class athletes. The Secret Classic at UIC Pavilion will feature female gymnasts like reigning Olympic all-around champ Nastia Liukin, reigning world champ Jordyn Wieber, and local star Anna Li.

By Maggie Hendricks
|  Saturday, May 26, 2012  |  Updated 3:24 PM CDT
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Gymnastic's Stars Set to Shine in Chicago

Getty Images

DALLAS, TX - MAY 14: Gymnast, Nastia Liukin, poses for a portrait during the 2012 Team USA Media Summit on May 14, 2012 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

On Saturday, Chicago will play host to several tiny, world-class athletes.

The Secret Classic at UIC Pavilion will feature female gymnasts like reigning Olympic all-around champ Nastia Liukin, reigning world champ Jordyn Wieber and local star Anna Li. Only five athletes will advance to national qualifiers. 

For Liukin, it will be her first time competing since stepping away from the sport in 2009. Her comeback was announced at last year's event in Chicago, and she will be showing off a new routine on the balance beam. She became a star after her memorable performance in 2008, but will face tough competition just to make this year's team.

“I don’t have any advantages by being the Olympic all-around champion going into these games. No one’s going to give you higher scores, no one’s going to be nicer or play fairer,” Liukin said to the Associated Press.

Wieber is one of those young guns Liukin has to compete with for a spot on the team. The reigning world champion led the U.S. women to a team title at the 2011 world championships. She is known to be steady on every single event, and puts up huge numbers on every apparatus.

Li, from Naperville, is competing after a successful collegiate career at UCLA. As a strong competitor on the uneven bars, Li will try to make a mark in the event the U.S. has traditionally struggled with.

Tickets are still available for this event on Saturday at 5 p.m.

Fans of the Olympics are encouraged to attend the live event to get a taste of the competition in person.  

Getting to London, Sochi, Rio de Janeiro or any other exotic locale that hosts the Olympics can be both difficult and expensive, so local qualifiers provide an accessible opportuinity. 

News breaks at inconvenient times. Stay tuned to NBCChicago wherever you go. Download our iPhone and iPad apps, now available on the iTunes App Store. Get  your iPad App. Get your iPhone app.

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