Olympic gymnast Nastia Liukin quit Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test on day 2 of the journey. She conquered any doubts she had by successfully completing the car plunge challenge, but she received some uninspiring feedback from Gus Kenworthy because a member of the directing staff was in the car with her. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Nastia about her decision to leave and whether or not she has any regrets.
“I was very honored to have been able to be part of such an incredible group of people, both my fellow recruits and also the staff,” Nastia began. “I think the experience in itself was just what I take with me for the rest of my life. Do I wish I could have stayed longer? Yes, absolutely. I think looking back at it, especially now that it’s been months, I obviously wish I could have. But at the same time, and for each of us, it was certainly a personal journey, and it kind of always has been from the beginning. It was truly just me against myself. Only I could kind of be the one to say that I have reached my limits or whatnot. I think letting some people’s words get to me, that’s the world that we live in. It’s so driven by social media and the internet and stuff. Everyone can have their own opinion but just making sure that you stay true to who you are, and I knew at that moment my integrity was on the line of possibly being questioned. That’s something I don’t take lightly and I never did.”
Both Mike Piazza and Gus tried to convince Nastia to stick around before she handed in her wristband. But after realizing that some of the recruits did not approve of the so-called “special treatment” she received, the Olympian decided now was the time to go. Nastia revealed what was going through her head in the moments before she left.
“I didn’t ask for Remy to be in the car with me, and I didn’t ask for special treatment,” the 33-year-old said. “I didn’t win the Olympics with special treatment. I did feel like I received it there [on Special Forces], so it just made me a little bit uncomfortable. It kind of started making me question my own integrity.”
She continued, “But I guess after a month of thinking about it I realized I should have maybe stayed and that it was a personal journey to unlock new and old things within myself. The staff does everything for a reason, so there was a reason why they did that. For me, at the moment, I certainly felt as if it was ‘special treatment.’ But, again, they do everything for a reason. I saw Remy’s post and he said something like we knew that moment was either going to bring the recruits closer together or cause the rift. Unfortunately, it was the latter.”
Nastia acknowledged that this has been “such a learning lesson” for her. “It happened all so quickly on the show, but I think the biggest point is the way I was raised was about maintaining your integrity, but also at the same time, I kind of let other people’s words determine my path. I think that’s so important to not let something like that happen regardless of if it’s a TV show or just life or social media or whatever it’s like. Unfortunately, it’s the world that we live in every single day,” she said HollywoodLife.
Nastia revealed that all of the recruits are in a group chat, so they stay in touch. “Jamie Lynn [Spears] actually messaged me last night as I guess everybody was kind of watching and just sent a very, very sweet, thoughtful, very long message about how proud she was,” Nastia said. “I thought that was just really nice of her to have gone out of her way. We all try to actually see each other as well. I don’t live in LA anymore, but whether we’re traveling for work or someone’s just traveling we always try to get together. We certainly like to outside the chat, and then even just on social media as well.”
The gold medalist admitted that the tough and grueling atmosphere of Special Forces was something she wasn’t used to. “As an athlete, my whole life my dad was my coach, so he just instilled how important it is to get enough rest and sleep and how important it is to have proper nutrition,” explained Nastia. “I understand you can’t compare training for the Olympics and Special Forces to being in war, obviously, but I think a combination of that with going into something feeling not prepared and not knowing what was to come, both things were kind of challenging for me just because I kept telling myself I would never go into the Olympics or any competition feeling unprepared. That’s kind of how I felt the whole time because I just didn’t know what was to come.” Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test airs Wednesdays on FOX.
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