She was "a little older than one" when she crawled to the edge of her bed and did the splits, according to her mother, Likisha McCormick, and was three years old when she mastered the cartwheel, able to flip around the length of a football field.
"Seeing her be so strong was very helpful because it was like even the greatest gymnast in the world is struggling," said Hilliard. "You know, the time is different for us. You can sit up and take off six months a year and move on. But a kid who's like nine years old a year is so long."
PHOTO EDITING MARIKA KOCHIASHVILI; TEXT EDITING LISA SHUMAKER; LAYOUT JULIA DALRYMPLE