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VIDEO: ‘Little rock stars’ from Langley are world cheer champs

Won gold for Canada

Four young athletes from a Langley-area cheerleading studio have won gold at an international championship.

Avery Blades, Taylor Meeds, Kiana Millar, all 13, and McKenzie Walker, 11, who train at Gems Athletics Cheer & Tumble on the Surrey-Langley border, competed as part of the Canadian team in the Youth Median All-Girl Division at the International Cheer Union (ICU) World Championships in Orlando, Fla. from April 24 to 26.

Blades, a Willoughby resident, Meeds and Millar from Surrey, and Walker from Langley City, began their journey to the world championships by making the roster of Team B.C., composed of girls from all across the province.

Team B.C. then submitted a video to Cheer Canada, which chose the B.C. athletes to represent Canada.

For parent Christine Walker, a former cheer competitor who has been to international events herself, seeing her daughter compete at that level for the first time brought out a “different set of emotions.”

“They’re just little rock stars, and I’m very proud of all four of them,” Walker enthused.

“It was just bigger,” Walker commented, “overwhelming [and] scary, at the same time.”

“Our group of four, McKenzie, Taylor, Avery, and Kiana, they are fresh and new to the world stage,” Walker said.

READ ALSO: VIDEO: Langley-area athletes cheerlead for Canada

After a rough start the first day, where the team suffered a “bobble” that cost them points, they rebounded, Walker reported.

“They had a shaky day one with some mistakes, [the] nerves, and excitement of the entire event definitely showed, but they put out the most stellar day two routine, definitely earning that gold medal,” Walker summarized.

“They nailed it,” Walker declared.

It was a very Canadian routine that won, with placards displaying the Maple Leaf and the message “Let’s Go Canada.”

The group of four, and coach Jessica Scoates, are Gems Athletics first world champions.

“These girls are now connected with something that no one has achieved in Canada at their age, so it’s huge,” Walker explained.

All four were trying out again for Team BC in May, with the hopes of representing Canada again, at the Pan Am Games in Ottawa later this year.

READ ALSO: Thousands of B.C. athletes in Abbotsford for cheer championships

Cheer is a physically demanding sport that has become more than just pom-poms and chants, adding what Wikipedia describes as “difficult stunt sequences and gymnastics” into routines.

In 2021, the International Olympic Committee officially recognized cheerleading as a sport and it was expected to be part of the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles

Dan Ferguson

About the Author: Dan Ferguson

Best recognized for my resemblance to St. Nick, I’m the guy you’ll often see out at community events and happenings around town.
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