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At just six years old, this Missouri City gymnast is turning heads

Nyomi Darby is barely in first grade but already but is already showcasing talent you can't teach.

MISSOURI CITY, Texas — With margins as small as a four-inch beam, gymnastics can be a sport that requires tremendous dedication and has little room for error. 

But at just six years old, Missouri City gymnast Nyomi Darby is already turning heads with moves well beyond her years. 

“I learned how to do a roundoff back handspring, back handspring back tuck, and a front flip,” Nyomi said. 

Her mom, Jasmine Brooks, said she started Nyomi as a baby. 

“She was probably like 18 months old," Brooks said. "It was kind of something that started off as just something for her to do because she had so much energy at such a young age and turned into something else."  

Nyomi quickly elevated herself. 

“I just noticed how much she separated from other kids her age, how much stronger she, you know, how fast she developed, you know, her skills," Brooks said. "She learned super fast even at a young age. Like, she was able to do skills that kids twice her age weren't even able to do."

She trains out of Olympia Gymnastics and Tumbling where her coach, Nichole Manolopoulos, said Nyomi has a kind of natural talent that is extremely rare. 

“We get talented kids all the time” Manolopoulos said.  "But natural talent is very hard to find. They either have it or they don't and that could be in any sport."

And if Nyomi was born with it, that would make a lot of sense. Brooks said her daughter comes from a long line of athletes.  

Brooks herself ran track on a full ride in Houston at Texas Southern University and said Nyomi’s father plays football in the NFL. 

“My sister is currently a USA team member," Brooks said. "She just competed at Worlds in Budapest, Hungary in the women's heptathlon. She also has multiple records at University of Arkansas. And then our younger sister played basketball at LSU, She's now the women's head associate coach at Texas Southern University, her very first collegiate coaching job and she's doing an amazing job there. And then Naomi's father plays football. He plays for Baltimore. And, I mean, the list goes on my uncle, he was a professional boxer. He boxed with Muhammad Ali. He's boxed in Madison Square Garden.” 

So far, Nyomi has just started competing, having entered just a few competitions. Manolopoulos says she’s often competing against kids who are several years older than her. 

“She just wanted medals,” Manolopoulos said.  "You know, she didn't care what they were, which is what you want to see out of the six-year-old that she loves the sport."

So how far can Nyomi go? Her coach said the sky is the limit. 

“She is very capable of reaching all the limits in the world," said said. "She goes to college, great. If she wants to go the Olympics, she has the potential. But again, it can't come from me. It has to come from her."  

Nyomi said her favorite gymnast is none other than Simone Biles. Maybe Nyomi too will one day stand on that podium just like her idol.

"That's definitely my, the thought in the back of my head, but I try to keep it in the back of my head,” Brooks said.

You can follow Nyomi's journey on both Instagram and TikTok.

Zack Tawatari on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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