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Team USA Talks Favorite Teachers And Least Favorite Subjects

By Lisa Costantini | Sept. 02, 2014, 9:22 a.m. (ET)

Nastia Liukin with her first grade teacher, Ms. Tony.

This week, many students around the U.S. will be heading back to school. In honor of this special occasion, we asked 10 athletes to think back to their days in the classroom and share with us their favorite — and least favorite — school subjects, and reminisce about the teachers who inspired them. See what they had to say. But don’t worry, there won’t be a test after!

Five-time Olympic gymnastics medalist Nastia Liukin:

“My favorite teacher to this day was my first grade teacher, Ms. Tony. I had a special bond with her from the first day of school. I would always want to stay late after class every day to talk to her and sit on her lap reading books. I hadn’t seen her in years until 2008 when the city of Plano [Texas] did an Olympic celebration for me after I won the gold medal. She showed up and it meant the world to me. She had made me a scrapbook of all the newspaper clippings I was in during the Beijing Olympics.”

2008 Olympic weightlifter Carissa Gump:

“My favorite teacher growing up was my physical education teacher, Chris Polakowski, who was also my weightlifting coach. It if wasn’t for him recognizing my athletic abilities in physical education class I would never have stepped foot in a weight room!”

2012 Olympic volleyball silver medalist Christa Harmotto:

“Math and history were my favorite subjects growing up. I enjoyed U.S. history the most because I think it is fascinating to learn about the various events in our past that affect the way we live today. And now that I travel all over the world and get the chance to visit historical landmarks, I have also learned to appreciate the world’s history.”

2016 Olympic badminton hopeful Crystal Pan:

“My favorite teacher ever was my elementary school PE teacher. Even during PE, she would always manage to teach us something new every time we saw her. She encouraged us to enjoy the sports, but also be competitive at the same time. She helped a lot in making me believe I could achieve my dream. My other favorite teacher was my middle school history teacher. He always taught history in a way that interested everybody. And he even made an effort to come out to one of my tournaments when I asked, and that made me so happy.”

2012 Paralympic judo silver medalist Myles Porter:

“Like probably many others, my least favorite class in school was math. In the beginning it did not make any sense to me and was extremely boring, but once I got to college I understood why it was necessary to learn.”

2014 Olympic slopestyle skiing silver medalist Devin Logan:

“Mr. Wynn was my favorite teacher. He taught — and still does — middle school PE in Oceanside, New York. My brother was friends with his son, Shane, and we would all hang out.”

Two-time Olympic diving medalist David Boudia:

“I hate any type of math. I never understood why I had to learn some of the things they taught us. I still don’t. I probably only use 15 percent of what I learned. I do not need to know the square root of anything or the radius of a circle.”

2012 Olympic volleyball silver medalist Tamari Miyashiro:

“My favorite subject growing up was art. I enjoyed art class because I felt this was one of the areas where I could be creative and explore new ideas. I loved being able to express myself through art.”

2012 Paralympic judo bronze medalist Dartanyon Crockett:

“My least favorite subject growing up was math. I was never good with numbers and my interest level was always low when it came to solving math problems. As far as my favorite subject, English is the first thing that comes to mind, simply because it is the opposite of math.”

2008 Olympic gymnastics silver medalist Chellsie Memmel:

“My least favorite subject growing up was creative writing. I wasn’t good at making up things to talk about. I am much better at writing about subjects and things I know.”

Related Athletes

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Nastia Liukin

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Christa Dietzen

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Myles Porter

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David Boudia

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Devin Logan

Freestyle Skiing
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Tamari Miyashiro

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Dartanyon Crockett

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Chellsie Memmel