Meet Texas’s 14-year-old rising gymnast, Emma Malabuyo

by Cheryl Piccio, ABS-CBN News

DALLAS, TX — Following in the footsteps of Texas Olympians Simone Biles and Madison Kocian, the Lone Star State’s next rising gymnastics star is 14 year old Fil-Am Emma Malabuyo, who emerged as the all-around winner in the junior category of the 2017 U.S. Classic. 

Emma’s score was higher than all of the senior competitors, and was the highest score of the competition. 

Emma made her debut in the Elite scene in 2015, after moving from California to Texas, and went on to have a very successful 2016 and 2017 season — making the USA Gymnastics Junior National Team.

But her natural talent actually began to show at a much earlier age.

 “I started because I was watching videos of some girls flipping, and I was like, I really loved watching that and I wanted to try and so I was like I love gymnastics from the beginning I saw someone do a flip,” said Malabuyo.

 “When she was little maybe about two or three years old we noticed that she would do flips on the bed, she would crawl up on the walls in the doorways and she had a lot of energy — and then she would love to do the monkey bars at the playground,” said her parents, Joel and Ana Malabuyo. “She’s really good at that we wold get compliments from other parents in on the playground you know this could be something that she could get into the gymnastics competitively.”

 Emma is showing huge potential for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. It has already been a long road, which has required a monumental commitment from both Emma and her parents. With 36 hours per week committed to gymnastics training alone.


 “We have to bring her to the gym because she starts very early at 7 AM in the morning. Then she has to be picked up mid-day, then she goes home, and then off to school, and then she gets brought back for a second training. We have to do meals and sometimes massage therapy and other things that we need to do to maintain her body, because it is a very rigorous sport.”


 Texas has produced many championship gymnasts and Olympic medallists. Emma is inspired by their success and hopes to also be an inspiration to others.

She and her family are focused on the dream of competing in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

“I was really working hard, and I knew that my preparation helped me through everything, so I believed I have a really good chance.”


With a natural ability for the sport of gymnastics, she has developed her own type of mental gymnastics to help her hit her routines under pressure.

“I’m thinking to stay calm and not be too nervous to take one thing at a step at a time and I think to not be overwhelmed at all, and just try to stay as calm and present as I can be.”


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