It was a test of mental and physical toughness. It took our strength and focus to new heights. It was far from easy. But it was all worth it because we are 2016 World Champions!
By early Friday afternoon, both USA Hip Hop and USA Pom had brought home gold medals. Later that day, USA Coed and USA All Girl would have that same opportunity.
When we first walked into the HP Field House in our red, white and blue uniforms and backpacks, thousands of people from all over the world started chanting U-S-A! We stopped and stood in awe at the moment, trying to take it all in.
USA Coed competed first, and the venue was completely packed. As they hit each skill in their routine, the crowd yelled louder and louder. I felt so incredibly happy for them. They worked harder than ever to hit a perfect routine!
As soon as they finished, we recollected our mental focus and envisioned hitting our routine. We went into warm-ups knowing how many people were out there watching and that every one of them wanted us to put on a show. It was easy to get nervous with thousands of people watching not only inside the venue but also online, but I just knew that this team would pull through and hit. I could feel it before we took the floor.
Finally, it was our time. We went out there with confidence and excitement, and we HIT! We even had a surprise ending! When our dance finished and the crowd was going crazy, we tricked them and got back up to end the routine in stunts at the front of the mat. It was our favorite part, and it couldn’t have gone any better.
When it came time for awards, we hoped for the best, but our coaches prepared us for any placement. The other countries we went up against showcased incredibly elite routines. In the end, though, both USA Coed and USA All Girl had the honor of being announced as gold medalists, and we had the privilege of singing our national anthem on stage!
I could not imagine a better ending to this journey. Four US National Teams came to compete at ICU Worlds, and all four came out on top, bringing home the gold for our great country. I am forever grateful for the amazing people I’ve met along the way and the precious memories that will be cherished forever.
Thank you to our coaches for all of the work you’ve put in and everything you’ve done for us. Thank you to my teammates for holding the rope and giving your all. And thank YOU, readers, for following this unforgettable journey. One last time . . . GO USA!