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Emma Malabuyo Eager For 2018
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The January/February 2018 issue of International Gymnast includes a feature on Emma Malabuyo, who made a great comeback in 2017 after sustaining a sprained lateral collateral ligament while vaulting in 2016. That injury prevented her from competing in the 2016 P&G Championships, but she still made the junior national team, an exclusive club of only eight gymnasts.

A California native, Malabuyo moved in 2013 to Texas Dreams, where she is coached by Kim Zmeskal-Burdette and her husband, Chris Burdette.

Last July she won the U.S. Classic in Illinois.

“That was a very big win for me because we were competing with the seniors and I added a lot of new skills,” says Malabuyo, who is a senior this year. “And it was my first time winning a competition.”

At the 2017 P&G Championships, she placed second all-around in the junior competition to Maile O’Keefe. She also placed first on floor exercise.

In September both juniors were sent to the International Junior competition in Japan, where O’Keefe and Malabuyo placed 1-2 in the all-around, respectively, and Malabuyo won floor exercise again.

Says Zmeskal-Burdette: “Emma is chomping at the bit to play with the big dogs (in 2018), and I’m excited to stand by her side in this pursuit!”

A photographer’s dream, Malabuyo makes her gymnastics look easy. And she’s not afraid to use her entire body to express herself on floor exercise.

“Her smile is definitely her secret weapon!” Zmeskal-Burdette says.

New National Team Coordinator Valeri Liukin has taken notice as well.

“She is very expressive and can definitely set herself apart on floor and beam,” he says. “At the same time, she is a very calm and a mentally strong athlete.”

Read the full story in the January/February 2018 issue. To subscribe to the print and/or digital edition or to order back issues of IG, click here.

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