Britain Bound: Liukin Day 1

Sept. 13, 2011, 7:09 p.m. (ET)

I landed in London Tuesday ready to hit the ground running. As a part of Team USA: Britain Bound, I am experiencing the host city of the 2012 Olympic Games at a whole new level. My red-eye flight landed at 7 a.m., and by 10 I was flipping and split leaping and displaying my gymnastics skills in front of the iconic London Eye. The day never slowed down.

I rode the London Eye, and from the view at the top, checked out the sites of the 1908, 1948 and 2012 Olympics. I sipped on British tea as I strolled across Westminster Bridge. I learned about Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament from a London historian. I toured Westminster Abbey and saw the site where Princess Kate and Prince William were married. I visited the O2 Arena, which will host gymnastics and basketball during the 2012 Games, and I learned a bit of Cockney Slang in an entertaining cab ride through the city. I watched a flame blower and an acrobat perform on my dinner table in a unique Cabaret restaurant. With Olympic energy, I took in everything London threw my way, and it was only Day 1! In retrospect:

I would have liked to have spent more time at: Westminster Abbey, hearing more about the history (a bomb went through the roof in WW2!) and exploring all of its nooks and crannies

Today`s funny moment: Getting funny looks from people passing by while I did flips in front of Big Ben

I knew I wasn’t in the U.S. when: I almost got in a taxi on the wrong side (the driver’s seat!) 

I was most surprised by: How slow the London Eye goes around – it’s relaxing, not scary!

Westminster Abbey took my breath away.

My gymnastics background came in handy when: I flipped in front of Big Ben and the London Eye

If you come to London, don't miss: The great shopping and the views from the London Eye

What I'm most looking forward to tomorrow: Seeing Princess Kate’s wedding dress at Buckingham Palace and the Wimbledon courts