Nastia Liukin, the new favorite to win this season's Dancing With the Stars, has an intrinsic advantage over her competitors. Liukin, an Olympic champion gymnast, owns an intense discipline that few other professions require.
Dedication is one thing. The actors, singers, and business tycoons who get a shot on Dancing With the Stars have all shown intense dedication to achieve their goals. But elite gymnastics routines demand a level of precision, timing, nerve and control so complete that the discipline must rise to another level. An elite gymnast's discipline is so total it can almost erase the personality of the athlete. You can see it in how Liukin trains (trains seems more apt than rehearses) for DWTS. Dancing, of course, wants personality too--and so the intense discipline Liukin brings could ultimately work against her. But in the technical aspects of the dances, she will not be outdone by any of the others. In Liukin's world, the difference of a quarter inch, while others might not see it, has always been a very significant measure--whether on the balance beam or, now, on the dance floor.
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