Nastia Liukin is going from the Olympic stage to Special Forces. The 5-time Olympic medalist is one of the celebrity recruits of FOX’s Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test. She spoke EXCLUSIVELY with HollywoodLife about why she decided to take on this tough-as-nails series.
“I think [it was] a little bit of the unknown and that fear. It had been since 2008 when I won the Olympics that I felt all of those feelings and ever since then I’ve been kind of searching for something to make me feel [like that],” Nastia told HollywoodLife at the Special Forces red carpet event.
Nastia spent years training for the Olympics and competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, becoming the 2008 Olympic All-Around Champion. After the Olympics, Nastia felt like she would “never feel this feeling or something of this magnitude ever again.” That was until Special Forces came alone.
“I did DWTS and that was amazing and fun, but it wasn’t anything remotely close to this,” she continued. “Not to take away from that show. It was amazing. But I do think putting myself and pushing myself to the physical limit [and being] mentally, physically, emotionally uncomfortable. That was something I knew was coming. But I didn’t realize how extreme of all of those things would be.”
The gymnast recalled the “mental toughness” that she had to win the Olympics. “I knew it existed, but I never really had to use it at that level ever again until this moment… My fear was that it didn’t exist anymore,” Nastia revealed. “I thought maybe that’s something that goes away when you don’t have to use it. And I quickly realized that mental strength and toughness, I snapped back into it in moments.”
The 33-year-old added, “You have to dig a little deeper sometimes when you don’t use it every day, right? But it was a very eye-opening moment for me to realize: don’t put yourself in a box. Don’t limit yourself. You are as strong, tough, whatever, as you think you are… We’re all of our own biggest critics and our own limitations.”
Nastia will be facing grueling challenges inspired by the actual Special Forces selection process. Her fellow recruits include Jamie Lynn Spears, Beverley Mitchell, Danny Amendola, Kenya Moore, Gus Kenworthy, Kate Gosselin, and more. Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test will air Wednesdays on FOX.