Texas in general has become a mecca for gymnastics in the United States and throughout the years has produced a plethora of elite gymnasts, many going on to win World and Olympic titles. Texas Dreams Gymnastics, in particular has been a big part of the Texas gymnastics scene, producing countless numbers of top level 10 gymnasts and top collegiate level gymnasts and of course a great number of elite gymnasts. With names like Bailie Key, Peyton Ernst, Kennedy Baker, Llomincia Hall, Chelsea Davis and 2016 Olympic alternate, Ragan Smith preceding her, Emma Malabuyo is now making her mark on the elite scene as one of Texas Dreams’ newest crop of talent and one of the USA’s rising stars looking ahead towards Tokyo in 2020. Emma made her elite debut in 2015, after moving from California to Texas and went on to have a stellar 2016 season.
This Texas Dreamer started the year with a bang, being added to the U.S. National Team and travelling to Canada to represent the USA at L’International Gymnix in Montreal, Canada. At her very first international competition, Emma not only helped team USA take the gold medal as a team, she also took 3rd place AA and won gold on both the BB and FX. Her success did not stop there, she was then selected to represent the U.S. at the City of Jesolo Trophy in Jesolo, Italy. In Italy, Emma took gold on BB and silver AA, on FX and on UB. She then took 2nd AA at the 2016 Covergirl Classic, also taking 3rd on BB, 4th on VT and 5th on FX. Unable to finish competition at the P&G Championships in late June, Emma was still named to the National Team following the event and is looking to shine in 2017 in her last year as a junior gymnast.
Turning senior in 2018, Emma is certainly one to watch for that mid-quad World Championships team and the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. With gorgeous dance on floor, a clear natural ability for the sport of gymnastics, beautiful, steady balance beam work and an ability to hit routines when it counts, there is something very special about Emma. Reminiscent of a young Kyla Ross, she is sweet in nature, calm under pressure, unassuming to a certain degree but a fierce competitor and a beautiful gymnast, she is certainly one to watch and has got the same great landing positions Kyla was so renowned for.
Here, Emma talks about her 2016 season, her move to Texas Dreams, camps with Valeri Liukin in charge, the coaching philosophy of Kim & Chris at Texas Dreams and more!
1) Firstly, congratulations on a great 2016 season, how did it feel to be added to the National Team earlier this year and then get to compete internationally?
2) How did you get started in gymnastics and when did you realise that you had the potential to do elite gymnastics?
3) You had a big change and moved from Airbourne in California to Texas Dreams, can you tell me a little about why you made that move and how you adjusted to training at Texas Dreams?
4) How has training with National Team members such as Bailie Key on a daily basis and watching your teammate Ragan Smith be named as an alternate to the Olympic team help to motivate and inspire you?
5) Your floor routine has always stood out to me. What is your favourite event and what was the easiest part about gymnastics for you growing up? What came naturally?
6) You were unable to finish competition at the P&G Championships, can you tell me a little about that and how is your training going now?
7) Kim and Chris seem to be very determined to make training and competing in gymnastics a positive experience and to prioritize the happiness of the gymnast, do you think this helps you and those at Texas Dreams succeed?
8) You increased your difficulty quite significantly across all of your events, particularly on beam from 2015 to 2016, did those upgrades come easily and can we expect more upgrades for 2017?
9) You recently attended the first national team camp since the Olympics and the first one with the new National Team Co-Ordinator Valeri Liukin, how did the camp differ from the camps with Martha in charge?
10) Is there any gymnast in particular that inspires you or even any person that inspires you and why?
11) Looking forward to the future, what are ultimate gymnastics goals? Is college gymnastics something you’re interested in and if so, is there any schools that you are particularly interested in?
12) Aside from gymnastics what do you see yourself doing when you’re older? Is coaching something that interests you?
13) What in particular do you like about gymnastics, what makes it special from other sports?
14) A lot of gymnasts get into gymnastics because their parents were involved as kids, is there gymnastics blood in your family or are you the only one?
15) And finally, what has been the highlight of your gymnastics career so far, in elite or even before elite?
The highlight of my gymnastics career so far is competing at the City of Jesolo meet in Italy this year. This was such an amazing experience because I got to travel and compete with junior and senior national team members. USA Gymnastics posted a picture of us sweeping the podium, I will never forget that moment.