When the Salina Family YMCA hosts its 9th annual “Tumble in the Jungle” gymnastics event in a couple of weeks there will be a unique competitor.
According to the YMCA 60-year-old Sherrie Martin, a gymnast from Spokane, Washington, is set to compete in the Ladies Division.
Martin’s competitive gymnastics covers fifty years, with a 35-year break in the middle. Her early gymnastics career was brief, spanning five short years in the early 1970s. But her longing for gymnastics never eased and at the age of fifty-one she started up private gymnastics’ lessons at a gym in her home town of Spokane, Washington, her only goal was to learn a kip. Today, nine years later, she competes for gold and recently scored a 9.25 on bars in Las Vegas. She never vaulted in the 70s, being frightened of going over the horse. Yet, now she competes for a handspring vault at meets using the springboard.
In her “real life,” Martin is a practicing Realtor, a physical comedian, a grandma, a gymnast, and a circus gym owner. She performs her own one-woman physical theater comedy shows around the country. Her first “I Will Sell This House Today,” is a one-hour show about a Realtor who tries to sell a house on stage. Currently performing her second show, “F’lympics,” is about a sixty-year-old lady who tries for the 11th time to get into the 2020 Olympics. True to her love, Sherrie performs acrobatics and tumbling in each show, usually in the final scene.
“At the age of 12, while sitting in my first ever health education class, I decided all I ever wanted to be was healthy. Finishing college with a degree in Health Education, I began my life-long quest of health, fitness and (surprisingly) performance.” Says Martin.
Back in middle school, martin was unstoppable often watching gymnastics on TV and bringing ideas of daring moves to try with her PE teacher and school custodian spotting. At 60, it’s much of the same except in a body that is 48 years older. And she doesn’t use a custodian for a spotter. Sherrie has an amazing coach and works 3 or 4 times a week on her skills and strength for gymnastics.
Martin appeals to people her own age as they love watching “one of their own” doing amazing things and it is motivating. For the younger set, wonder and amazement make even the youngest youth want to grow old and be like Sherrie.
Martin will compete in Salina on Saturday March 2nd at 8:00 AM. The event will take place at Kansas Wesleyan University.