Flipping into her future

Sophomore Naomi Murphy competes as a level 10 gymnast


Naomi competes on bars. Courtesy of Ellie Murphy.

She finds her spot on the floor, focusing her eyes on her mark on the mat. In this moment, nothing else matters except for the clock ticking as the minutes go by. She visualizes the routine she is about to perform, which she has done over and over in the gym. This is the moment her hours of practicing pay off.

Every injury and every moment of failure has led her to this exact spot. With the music to guide her, she performs her routine, soaring gracefully through the air. When she sticks the landing, she knows this is exactly what she is meant to do. Sophomore Naomi Murphy has been a gymnast since she was 4 years old. Since then, she has received seven state titles.

“My favorite event is floor,” Naomi said. “I love being able to use my power to tumble and, in contrast, being graceful in my dance.”

In November 2017, Naomi represented the USA gymnastics team in Belgium. Her team arrived early to adapt to the time change and begin practicing. Training was not a simple task. During the week leading up to competition, Naomi trained for 24 hours or more.

“Competing for your country is an amazing experience,” Naomi said. “When you hear your name called, followed by the United States of America spoken in French, you want to give it everything you have even more. Getting to walk onto the floor following the American flag is definitely a memory I will never forget.”

Noami receives support from her family, specifically her mother, Ellie Murphy, who travels with her to meets. She has witnessed the sacrifices Naomi has made in order to keep up with her busy schedule as a full-time student and gymnast.

“I think her desire to improve every day in the gym has carried over to the rest of her life as well,” Ellie said. “She has made a lot of sacrifices, mostly social events, because of gymnastics but she keeps a very positive attitude because she is working toward her goals.”

Those around her take inspiration from her, too. From the way she balances her academics and time at the gym to her can-do attitude, her close friends admire her work ethic.

I’ve learned to never give up. You are going to fall and it’s going to hurt a lot, but you always get back up and do it again.”

— sophomore Naomi Murphy

“I definitely look up to her because the work ethic and stamina [she puts in] is something special and I try to match it,” senior drumline captain Brett Myers said. “She inspires me to get stronger and practice every day.”

Despite being a sophomore, Naomi already has plans to continue her career as a gymnast. She looks up to her coaches Bethany Larimer and Abby Millet, who did gymnastics throughout college. Naomi has learned multiple meaningful lessons from them and aspires to be like them one day.

“I plan on competing all four years of college, representing my university,” Naomi said. “After that, I see gymnastics as just a way to stay fit and have some fun. I’m excited about the college recruiting process and I look forward to seeing what D1 college gymnastics team I will get to compete for.”

The biggest takeaway for Naomi has been the constant demands that accompany being a gymnast, as well as the injuries and downfalls. Gymnastics has taught her to persevere and keep her head up. However, she continues to encounter obstacles both in and out of the gym.

“Having to find the incredible amount of mental and physical energy that it takes to be great is a very difficult part of being a gymnast,” Naomi said. “I’ve learned to never give up. You are going to fall and it’s going to hurt a lot, but you always get back up and do it again. This doesn’t apply just to gymnastics but to life as well.”