This will tide me over until the Olympics.
February 8, 2016 5:31 PM   Subscribe

Some of the most exciting gymnastics routines are happening at the college level. UCLA Senior Sophina DeJesus helped lead her team to victory with a hiphop-flavored floor routine that included a whip, a nae nae, and a tumbling pass that landed in a split. The Internet is rightly losing its collective mind. The whole Bruins squad seems pretty amazing (Sophina at 1:31). But if that wasn't impressive enough for you, she can also moonwalk on the balance beam.
posted by CatastropheWaitress (23 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
She is clearly doing what she loves and she is fucking fabulous while doing it. Yaaay!
posted by duffell at 5:57 PM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

This is so cool!
posted by capricorn at 6:16 PM on February 8, 2016

Holy crap! I hope all the best things for this awesome gymnast!
posted by numaner at 6:32 PM on February 8, 2016

I have always felt that gymnastic floor routines never really flowed with the music like they seem like they should (My friend Hope's awesome Eye of the Tiger routine from 1987 notwithstanding!) so this is cool to see.

And her (and the crowd's) joy and excitement is so great to see.
posted by vespabelle at 6:40 PM on February 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

I watched this earlier today and was glad I have an office with a door because I made WOW! and YEAH! noises while I watched this. Awesome.
posted by rtha at 6:42 PM on February 8, 2016

Love the blue hair, and the amazing power and grace!
posted by Kangaroo at 6:43 PM on February 8, 2016

My eyes watered when she did the splits.

But seriously, why can't superhero movies show people doing things like this, which are spectacular but within the range of human capabilities? It would be so much more exciting than levitating dudes with glowy eyes.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:47 PM on February 8, 2016 [9 favorites]

That was awesome! So joyful. What a great performer and athlete.
posted by aka burlap at 6:52 PM on February 8, 2016

This is really what our Olympic team is missing. Amazing.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:54 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yay! I love college gymnastics! When I was in Munchkin Gymnastics class, we were invited to do cartwheels and somersaults and roundoffs and stuff across the floor before a Michigan Wolverines gymnastics meet. I was 4 and the girls on the team helped us put ribbons in our hair, and I got a high five from a girl on the team and people in the stands applauded us, and I basically felt like I was THE MOST AWESOME.

Sophina DeJesus is even more awesome than 4-year-old me thought I was at the time. That was so fun and great!!!
posted by ChuraChura at 7:02 PM on February 8, 2016 [6 favorites]

Oh, my lord!
posted by cleroy at 7:27 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

> But seriously, why can't superhero movies show people doing things like this, which are spectacular but within the range of human capabilities?

Jackie Chan's best movies are pretty close to what you're asking for.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:31 PM on February 8, 2016 [4 favorites]

Every sport should have your teammates singing and dancing on the sidelines.
posted by grounded at 7:32 PM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

College gymnastics is so much fun. I seriously recommend going to a meet if you can. They're clearly amazing, intense athletes, but they don't have that creepy robotic thing that some of the Olympic gymnasts do. I think it might just be because we're not seeing them at the most important meet of their lives, so they can be a little more relaxed. They all do the thing where the whole team dances along with the choreography in the floor routines, which is fun to watch.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:54 PM on February 8, 2016 [6 favorites]

Wow, cool developments in gymnastics. See also, The Dick Move.
posted by latkes at 8:03 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Looooved the uncomfortable giggling by the commentators.
posted by town of cats at 8:28 PM on February 8, 2016

Wow. I barely follow gymnastics except during the Olympics, but wow is it great to see a female gymnast who looks powerful and graceful!
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:08 PM on February 8, 2016

Yay college gymnastics! I have a season pass set up and keep it on in the background while I'm getting work done. I love how talented these athletes are and how supportive they are of each other. It's so much fun to watch the other women on the team doing the dance moves in the background while the one on the floor is competing. And as someone who grew up only seeing gymnastics in the Olympics - years ago, with these tiny, deadly-serious girls who looked like they couldn't be older than fourteen - it's great to see these "older" athletes who are still so good at their sport.

One of my favorites right now is Bridget Sloan at Florida, who is just ridiculously talented. Going from such a elite background - Olympian! World Champion! - to flourishing as a college athlete who seems to still get such a kick out of competing is a joy to behold.
posted by Salieri at 1:33 PM on February 9, 2016

What took so long for gymnastics to embrace the creativity of hip hop? I recall watching Olympians in the late 80's and wondering why they hadn't begun to use breakdance and b-boy moves on the floor exercise. To me it seemed like a natural fit. Would it have been too soon? Is their some purist thought from a historical perspective? Congrats to DeJesus for shaking things up.
posted by mikeinclifton at 4:33 PM on February 9, 2016

Congrats to DeJesus for shaking things up.

DeJesus is amazing to watch, but in fairness to the sport, the athletes have been shaking things up for a while now at the college level. UCLA in particular has a reputation as a team that has spent lots of time over the years crafting good floor routines and focusing on the dance elements.

I'd also like to recommend checking out LSU's Lloimincia Hall! She is amazing.
posted by Salieri at 5:08 PM on February 9, 2016 [6 favorites]

Black women athletes, especially the ones who make it to the very top, have faced a history of being criticized for their bodies, their hair and their strength. In performative sports, like gymnastics, figure skating, and ballet, they're often subject to more elusive critiques about style and grace. The exact meaning of these comments can be hard to pin down but, they still send a clear message. This is not a black woman's sport. Black women don't belong here.

Which is part of what makes a video that went viral this weekend so exciting
posted by ChuraChura at 2:15 PM on February 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yup. Remember the shit Surya Bonaly got? She was sheer raw power on the ice, along with an enviable grace.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:02 PM on February 10, 2016

Those teammates who clobbered her with hugs after she landed her splits? They were primed to do that not because they thought the performance would go viral, but because they had seen her work for over four hours each day to become stronger. They say they felt she had earned her place in the floor competition lineup.

But the real story of how Sophina DeJesus and her smiling, tumbling form ended up on a screen near you the same weekend as Beyonce and the black beret-wearing dancers at the Super Bowl started long before she first flipped. Her grandfather was the president of UCLA's Afrikan Student Union and helped bring in the school’s first black professor; her mother was a juror in the Rodney King trial.
posted by ChuraChura at 5:55 AM on February 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

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