By Samantha Dabbs
For the Daily Titan
Video by Derek Opina
Two teams, one goal, and 2008 U.S. Olympic gold medalist Nastia Liukin brought Southern Californian gymnastics fans to Titan Gym during the Southern California College Preview on Sunday.
Cal State Fullerton and UCLA gymnasts gave the 1,152 fans a preview of their upcoming seasonâ€™s routines, while Liukin emceed the event.
Vice President of Student Affairs Robert Palmer brought greetings from President Milton Gordon and showed his support by introducing Liukin to the audience.
Palmer said, â€œWe will indeed do all we can to support these magnificent ladies.â€
Due to budget cuts at CSUF, the Titan gymnasts were told that they would have to raise their entire budget, which is $280,000 by May, according to Titan gymnastics Head Coach Jill Hicks.
This left only two gymnastic teams in Orange County with one goal in mind – to save gymnastics at CSUF, said Hicks.
Along with the preview, Titan gymnastics held a luncheon before the event with Liukin and raised about $15,000.
Liukin heard of the event through Hicksâ€™ close friend, UCLA Head Coach Valorie Kondos Field, and she jumped on board as soon as she could, said Hicks.
â€œI was able to accomplish my dreams and goals last year in Beijing at the Olympics, and I know not every girlâ€™s dream is to go to the Olympics, but so many girls would absolutely love to compete for their college,â€ said Liukin. â€œYouâ€™re possibly taking away some little girlâ€™s dream to compete for CSUF.â€
Throughout the preview Liukin answered questions from the crowd, most of them from young aspiring gymnasts, but laughter shook the gym when a young male asked her if she had a boyfriend. The Olympian laughed as well and assured the crowd that she did not.
Kyla Ross, 2009 Junior National Champion, also showed her support and gave the audience a bar routine during the preview.
The two teams sat side by side next to the mats, cheering and supporting each other during each of their events.
â€œThere was no fabrication of love and support here, it was all real, and I think everyone in this arena could feel it,â€ said Kondos. â€œIt was literally two teams, one goal.â€
Following the preview, the young gymnasts in the crowd rushed down and danced with the two teams to the Black Eyed Peas, â€œI Got a Feeling,â€ in celebration of the outcome of the event.
Shannon Kawada, a senior on the Titan gymnastics team said, â€œI think itâ€™s truly amazing that another Southern California team can come and help us save Fullerton and just give us all of their support as well.â€
In addition to this preview, CSUF gymnastics will hold another event in February to help raise money, according to Hicks.
â€œOur goal was not monetary for this event,â€ said Hicks. â€œIt was to create a buzz in Southern California, and that we did.â€