McDonough native Jaymes Marshall is only 9 and already has four state gymnastics championships on her resume.
There is an empty living room at the Marshall house where gymnastics equipment used to be. It had to be removed because Jaymes Marshall, 9, couldn’t help herself from trying moves too advanced for her age and skill.
She won’t have to wait much longer. The McDonough resident has rapidly developed into one of the most intriguing gymnastics talents to come out of Henry County.
There is no gymnast — boy or girl — at World Xtreme Gymnastics and Cheer, where Marshall trains, with as many state championship banners.
There are few — if any — gymnasts at World Xtreme catching up to older and more experienced gymnasts in skill and competition level so fast.
But Marshall is steadily progressing toward one goal.
“I really want to make the Olympics,” she said.
That’s where this all started for the precocious talent.
Marshall was 5, watching the Beijing Olympics and saw U.S. gymnastics star Shawn Johnson win the silver medal in the women’s all-around competition.
“I saw her and I wanted to be in the Olympics like her,” Marshall said.
So Marshall got started.
What started as four-day-a-week, two-hour practices quickly turned into four-hour training sessions five days a week.
There were so many tournaments across the Southeast that Marshall’s parents, James and Malikia, turned many into family vacations.
So much time was devoted to gymnastics that the Marshalls enrolled Jaymes in the Georgia Cyber Academy, an online-based school.
But it was clear from the beginning that Jaymes Marshall’s talent was special.
“[Jaymes] from the beginning looked like she had the potential,” said Sergey Zhukov, one of Jaymes’ coaches at World Xtreme.
“She is the best,” said Zhukov’s wife, Irina, another of Jaymes’ coaches at World Xtreme. “Usually girls in three years don’t look like [Jaymes] now.”
Marshall is coming off an impressive season.
Going from August to late April, she placed first in 12 of the 14 competitions she participated, including at the Georgia State Xcel Gold Championships in Cartersville back in March. That automatically qualified her for the Region 8 2012 Championships in Jackson, Miss., where she placed second.
Now, as Marshall gets ready to start another gymnastics season, she’s preparing to take on more difficult and daring techniques that should help her jump from Level 5 to Level 7 and get her closer to being able to qualify for the national meet.
Which would bring her one step closer to her ultimate goal.