Published on April 27th, 2014 | by Kim Conley
Team USA Day 12: Going for Gold
That’s a wrap on ICU Worlds, and I am still on cloud nine! Friday was the day we had all been waiting for and training so hard for. It was our one shot at executing a perfect routine for the judges and world to see.
We met for practice in the morning and looking around at my teammates, I could tell we were ready. Practice went great, which put us in a good spot mentally and gave us a confidence boost that carried on throughout the day.
After practice we headed to the HP Field House to watch Team USA Jazz. They performed so well that I got goosebumps! I still am not sure how they manage to make their entire team look like one as they dance and turn so fast. Not one person missed a beat! We had to go back to the All Star Resort to get ready, so we didn’t get to watch Team USA Pom but heard they did awesome. Team USA Jazz placed second in the world, and Team USA Pom earned gold! We are so proud of our dance teams!
As the day proceeded, I started to get a little more nervous and excited. We got ready and headed back over with Coed. It was almost their turn to shine! The HP Field House was packed and people were crowded around trying to get the best seat. As they called our country’s name to take the mat, everyone was shouting “USA, USA, USA!” At that moment, I couldn’t have been more proud to be an American. Coed performed and the crowd went crazy the whole time, amazed by the skills they were doing. They did a fantastic job representing our country!
After watching, it was our time to warm up. This was it! Being in warm ups with all of the other countries and seeing professional TV cameras everywhere was such a cool experience! After a great warm up, we went backstage to wait for our turn. Waiting backstage is the worst feeling because I get so anxious and just want to get out there and perform! Before taking the stage, Angela gave us the most inspirational speech to pump us up. It was so good that many of us were holding back tears. There’s no other team I would have rather gone out there with to represent the USA!
They finally called our name and as we walked out I saw how many people were watching. The crowd was going crazy before we even started! I took a deep breath and got set. I couldn’t believe this moment was happening; it almost felt surreal. Competing in the HP Field House in a Team USA uniform is a feeling unlike any other. One of my teammates said it best on social media, stating, “Today, I represent something bigger than myself, my gym or my school. I represent the United States.”
The only thing greater than competing for Team USA in the HP Field House is hitting your routine there, and that is exactly what we did! We had talked many times throughout training about how we wanted to walk off that floor, knowing we did nothing short of our best and feeling proud of our performance. We accomplished that and I will never forget that feeling.
Now that we had performed, it was in the judges’ hands. Teams from other countries did amazing as well, and once everyone had competed, it was time to wait for awards. As we waited our coaches took us aside and told us how proud they were. At this point, how we placed didn’t matter; we went out and accomplished our goal and represented our country to the best of our abilities.
It was an awesome feeling walking around with USA across my chest after our performance. Everyone kept stopping me to ask for pictures and tell me how great we looked.Walking back into the arena, we were able to see our families before awards got started. I was so glad to see my family waiting for me. Giving them hugs and knowing that I made them proud made me so happy!
Next, it was time for awards. As our division was announced, we were fortunate enough to get called as one of the countries that would be placing in the top three! We stood anxiously holding our flag as they called out the final results. And the country taking home the gold in the All Girl Premier division … the United States of America! We were ecstatic! Holding our country’s flag as they played the national anthem was a moment I will never forget.
Once awards were over we stepped backstage. Someone from the International Cheer Union wanted to talk to us. He told us that we did a great job and then surprised us by telling us that we would be getting rings … right then and there! We all went crazy and started crying. This was something that none of us expected. Getting a ring to show our hard work and to remember the day we earned gold was awesome! Last but not least, it was time for Coed awards. They struck gold as well, and I was so happy for them!
Finally, it was time for closing ceremonies. As the competition closed I could not believe it was all over. It was definitely emotional knowing that I’d never take the floor with the same group of girls again. Being on Team USA is one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me and it’s an experience that I will hold on to forever.
I cannot wait to try out again next year in hopes that I will be able to represent my country for a third time. Thank you to everyone who has made this possible, and thank you so much to American Cheerleader Magazine for giving me this incredible opportunity to share my experiences with the world! GO USA!