Tuesday, November 24, 2009


So, the gym world has been abuzz with the brilliance of little Murakami Mai, a tiny little gymnast from Japan who posesses all the difficulty of a junior Shawn Johnson and (on floor) all the polish of... well... someone far more graceful. 
She is thirteen, apparently, but looks far younger.  Mai has a dynamite little floor routine, with great music and wonderful  choreography.  It reminds me of the work of an old soviet routine, in the sense that even the gymnasts without an innate grace or maturity could still pull off a routine like that because they were so well trained in form and dance.  She is surprisingly elegant for someone so small.


I don't know much about the Japanese training system, except that their women have improved exponentially in the last few years.  I hope the powers-that-be are going to keep this little gem wrapped up in a little bit of cotton wool to prevent injury between now and 2012. 
Luckily, she is tiny enough and strong enough to perform these huge tricks, but i hope she doesn't grow too much!
A Youtube search should also turn up her beam routine, which is shaky but packed with tricks.



  1. That was marvelous! I'm amazed by how polished she is at such a young age. I love how light on her feet she is, too. I can't wait to see her on the senior stage.

  2. She could be floor world champion right now! She is gorgeous... please don't let her disappear like many awesome juniors seem to do

  3. We will not see that girl at senior .She is to young for all this skills and will be lost for gymnastics very soon .Sad!

  4. Has anyone found any video of her bars. Her vault wasn't too shabby either. Wow!

  5. Don't break little Mai!!! I hope her parents and coaches keep her safe.

  6. Even more reason for a fully recognised Junior series of international comps - Euros, Worlds, Olys.
    Let's face it - some girls hit their best at 13-14; while others are "late" and aren't at their best till 17-18, even 20.
    Same goes for RG and ice skating.
    Then coaches can suit skills progression to the girl, not their birth year.
    Might solve the age issue dogging China right now too.

  7. Hmm, too early to tell whether she actually delivers. I read somewhere that in China, you can only train compulsory routines until age 11, and they put a lot of stock into routine drills and getting basic skills right. Yes, Mai can throw tricks, but if she wants to be completely polished, she needs to work more on basics.

  8. Wow, she was amazing and so cute, and I hope we see her as a Senior!
    BUT, I wouldnt necesarily say she's more elegant than shawn, her ruitine was pretty similar in content, and she's about the same build. She reminds me quite a bit of Shawn actually. I actually love Shawns floor,her strenght might not be elegance, she's not built for it, but she performs it so well and you can tell she enjoys herself. If Mai can get where Shawn got it would be amazing, cant wait to see how far she gets, please keep her safe!

  9. Anonymous,

    I have to disagree - Mai has a grace Shawn just can't come close to. Whereas Shawn is cute and smiles a lot to sell her routines, she has no grace or sense of working with her music. Mai, on the other hand, has beautiful polish and grace, moves fluidly, and with her music. She is beautiful to watch - Shawn is just a trickster - and a quite skilled one at that. But let's not kid ourselves that she is elegant!?!