Liukin Returns To Competition

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It was just like old times for Nastia Liukin.

The Olympic champion returned to competition for the first time since the Beijing Games on Saturday night, doing one event - the balance beam - at the Cover Girl Classic. Liukin plans to compete at the national championships next month in her hometown of Dallas, and wanted to do a meet beforehand to get back in the routine of competition.

Her score of 14.5 was the second-highest of any gymnast after the first of four rotations.

Though Liukin's routine lacked some of its usual difficulty - her dismount was watered down - it was still impressive. When she did a front somersault, sweeping one leg back and extending it behind her without ever touching the beam, it looked effortless.