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The next Gabby Douglas? 8-year-old prodigy shows Olympic potential

NEWPORT NEWS (WAVY) - From Virginia to Atlanta, Georgia, the gymnastics world is quickly learning the name, Malina Liverman. 

Only 8 years old, she gave up dancing, and picked up gymnastics just last August. Since that time, the young Liverman has already racked up 34 medals, 15 of them gold, and has captured five state titles. 

Her nickname..."Tumbelina." 

In fact, the first meet she ever competed in, she won first place overall. 

"I knew right away she was something special," says Cheryl Lucas, Liverman's coach at World Class Gymnastics. 

Her mother, Tanya Liverman, has watched and cheered with the same amazement, watching her youngest child put on the display she has. "When they called her up to the podium (in Atlanta), whe just cried," said Tanya. 

"Like, wow! She goes to anther state, and she wins all-around. Who does that!"

Naturally, she's heard the comparisons that were sure to come. 

"One of her favorite idols out of this area is Gabby Douglas, and Simone Biles is also her favorite," said Tanya. 

"She is compared to them a lot."

Malina has sometimes been called the "Little Simone," or the "Little Gabby." There's surely nothing little about what she's accomplished, and if her medals thus far mean anything, this little one might be destined for big things. 


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