It happened on the day before Super Bowl Sunday at Pauley Pavilion in UCLA. A senior gymnast who shares an Puerto Rican/African-American heritage, channeled her inner Beyonce by incorporating a series of trending internet dances to spice up her floor exercise routine.
Gymnastics has, like figure skating displayed athleticism and grace and while pleasing to the eye has degenerated into a contest of who can duplicate repetitive forms best. Sophina changed this and may have ushered in a new dimension to the sport.
DeJesus showed a powerful grasp of all the tumbling sets we have seen often but at each stop juncture, Sophina added the Quan, the Whip/Nae-Nae, and closed out her first floor exercise of the season with the Dab causing an unrestrained response from teammates and the fans in attendance.
And did we mention she nearly scored a ten, settling for a 9.925 score. But as she was crushed virally by a collective love of internet activity, Sophina, a sociology major who calls Temecula, California home seemed not so moved by the judges refusal to acknowledge perfection.
“It is a subjective sport, so it doesn’t hurt,”
said Samantha Peszek, former teammate and Olympic Silver medalist.
Even though traditionalists will hold to the tried and true floor styles, a revolution, a blend of entertainment and sport appears to have caught the imagination of the masses. Helped by her sister, Savannah, “an awesome dancer” in her own right, Sophina wanted to display something different, something lasting.
“I wanted to end my senior year with a bang.”
That loud noise you just heard in the pavilion was confirmation that something new in the sport of Gymnastics just went off. Look below to see the performance that went viral.