Horton looking forward to 2012, spending time with fiance, family

U.S. Olympians Jonathan Horton and Nastia Liukin came to Champaign on Wednesday night for a stop on the 2008 Tour of Gymnastics Superstars. Following their performance at the Olympic Games in August, several members of the U.S. gymnastics delegation are touring the country, performing in 37 different cities.

In Beijing, Horton helped lead the U.S. men’s gymnastics team to a surprising bronze medal finish in team competition. The Houston, Texas, native also won a silver medal on the high bar event and finished ninth in the men’s all-around competition.

Liukin, a Dallas native, led the U.S. women’s team to a silver medal but won gold in the individual all-around. She also won silver medals on the uneven bars and balance beam, and a bronze medal on floor exercise.

The Daily Illini had a chance to catch up with the two Olympians following Wednesday’s performance.

Daily Illini: How’s the Tour been going so far for you guys?

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Jonathan Horton: It’s been great. It’s been a lot of fun. It’s really just been a kind of reward for everything we’ve done in the Olympics and the success that we’ve had. It’s been a great cast and crew of people, and it’s been one of the most fun and greatest three months I’ve ever had.

DI: How is it, though, being away from home for so long?

JH: You know, that’s the hard part. As Justin(Spring) is now, I’m also engaged. I’ve been dating my fiance Haley for four and a half years now, so that’s always hard, being apart from her for a month for the Olympics and three months for this. It’s been four months since I’ve been with her. I miss my friends and family, but this is maybe a once-in-a-lifetime thing. You never know if you’ll get an opportunity like this again. This is just a great time, and I’ll be home before I know it.

DI: Do you keep your medals at home with your family?

JH: Actually, my parents have them right now. I didn’t want to bring them with me on tour to risk anything happening to them. When I get home, I’ll probably get my medals back from them and put them on display somewhere in my room or in the basement somewhere.

DI: What’s in store for you following the tour?

JH: I’ve got a few more shows to go to. I’ve got one in the Netherlands and then one in South Dakota. So, you know, I’m going to go home and rest up a little bit, and I’ve got some more shows to do, but after that it’s strict training, trying to get ready for the 2012 Olympics.