USA Cheer recently announced that the University of Kentucky will represent the United States at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. What an awesome opportunity for the Cats and an exciting step for cheerleading! We recently sat down with the Executive Director of USA Cheer Lauri Harris and Director of USA Cheer National Teams Tony Nash to get the details. Check out our Q&A with USA Cheer!
There is a lot of buzz about cheerleaders representing the United States at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Can you tell us more about the trip?
Lauri Harris, Executive Director: Coordinated by the Pyeongchang 2018 Organizing Committee, the International Cheer Union (ICU) and ICU’s National Federation in South Korea- Korea Cheerleading Association; USA Cheer and a few other of ICU’s National Cheer Federations have been invited to send a cheer team from each country to participate in activities surrounding the Olympic Games, like parades and awards ceremonies. There will also be a friendly cheerleading competition between the countries to showcase everyone’s talents and skills, but that is not a part of the official Olympic Games. We are excited for this opportunity because it’s a great platform for all of us to show the world what cheerleading is.
How was the University of Kentucky chosen?
Tony Nash, Director of USA Cheer National Teams: USA Cheer is responsible for selecting qualified cheer teams to represent USA Cheer for events within the United States and around the world. Depending on the circumstance, USA Cheer either coordinates a national tryout for individuals, in cases like the cheerleading teams for the ICU World Championships, for example – or selects top qualified teams to represent us. Similarly Hofstra University represented USA Cheer in Colombia last month at the Pan American Cheerleading Championship. For this particular event, we needed to select a top team to represent the U.S. with existing routines in place that will show the world what cheer in America looks like. The University of Kentucky has an impressive history of winning multiple national championships, and with their competitive season behind them by February 2018, their coach Jomo Thompson was confident they would be prepared to represent our country.
When will cheerleading be in the Olympics?
Lauri Harris, Executive Director: Having cheer designated as an official Olympic sport is a long-term goal of the International Cheer Union (ICU), and we are working very closely with its Secretary General, Karl Olson to make sure we in the United States are building the foundation we need to fulfill that goal. Until that happens, USA Cheer is committed to elevating cheerleading both here, and abroad.
Where can athletes find more information on the US National Team?
The annual tryout for the US National team takes place on January 15, 2018. This is for the coed and all girl teams that compete at the ICU World Championship in Orlando, FL in April. All of the details can be found at usacheer.org/nationalteam/selections.