Flemish cheerleading team bring home gold


A team from the Antwerp Cheerleading Academy placed first in a Group Stunt event at the US All-Star Championships

More than ‘waving pom-poms’

A cheerleading team from Antwerp won gold at the UCA International All-Star Championships in Orlando, Florida. The team won their age division in Co-ed Group Stunt.

It was the first time that the five-member team Elemco, who train at the Antwerp Cheerleading Academy, had taken part in the competition. “The top three would have already been amazing,” one of the team told VRT. “But this is just super amazing.”

Elemco’s one-minute routine included impressive feats of tumbling, balance and strength. Members of the team say that the skill required for top cheerleading competition is highly underestimated.

People see it as “waving pom-poms around,” said one member. “Cheerleading is a really tough sport,” said another. “You need a great deal of discipline, otherwise you’ll never make it. You need a lot of strength and technique and, above all, to be in top physical condition.”

The academy has 30 teams that take part in competitions around the world. But a first place in the US – the cradle of cheerleading competitions – remains rare. Belgium scored a 91.5 out of a perfect 100, a very high score. The team that came next, from Mexico, scored 86.3.

“It’s unfortunate that Belgium doesn’t really recognise this as a top sport,” said a member of the team. “We hope that changes in the future.”

Photo & video courtesy Antwerp Cheerleading Academy