Friday, January 19, 2018
Sports

Sophina DeJesus' floor exercise goes viral.

The floor exercise in gymnastics is all about the tumbling, right? Sure, in between the runs the gymnast shows off balance or does balletlike moves, but that's just a moment for athletes and fans to catch their breath.

Sophina DeJesus of UCLA may have upset the floor-exercise paradigm over the weekend, however. Her tumbling runs were spot-on, but the moments in between are the main reason a Facebook video of her routine has been shared more than 400,000 times. DeJesus set aside those normally staid moments in between the tumbling to whip, nae nae, hit the quan and perform other hip-hop dance steps.

The unexpected moves, combined with the enthusiastic reaction from the home fans and DeJesus' teammates on Saturday, made the video a must watch for hundreds of thousands and brought an outpouring of positive comments on social media.

"I love dancing," DeJesus said of her decision to try the unorthodox routine. "I wanted to end my senior year with a bang."

The floor exercise is not even DeJesus' best event; she was an all-American on bars. The performance that was widely shared on social media was her first floor exercise of the season.

Unsurprisingly, DeJesus, a 21-year-old sociology major from Temecula, Calif., has a dance and acting background. At 12, she performed on the TV show Hip Hop Harry. "He was like Barney, but a hip-hop bear," DeJesus said. When dancing on the show, DeJesus said, she would throw in some gymnastics moves.

DeJesus' score for Saturday's routine, a 9.925, tied for third on her team at the meet, trailing two excellent — if less popular online — performances and raising the question of how much colorful moves hinder scoring from traditional judges.

"Commentators mostly talk about tumbling because it seems to be more impressive to an audience and it's easier to spot the deductions in landings, height and form," said Samantha Peszek, an Olympic silver medalist and a former UCLA teammate of DeJesus'.

"The great thing about routines like Sophina's is that they bring energy and life not only to the audience, but the rest of the team watching," she added.

So at the Olympic Games in Rio, will we see the nae nae?

Probably not, Peszek said.

"There are way more requirements to an Olympic-level routine in terms of tumbling and leap elements, so there wouldn't be enough time to do as elaborate choreography as Sophina," she said. "Also, international judges seem to appreciate more traditional style of floor choreography, so a floor routine like this would not score as well as it does in collegiate competition."

DeJesus says that if selected for the floor exercise in future meets, she plans to continue her routine.

Comments
Quarterback or bust for Quinton Flowers in the NFL?

Quarterback or bust for Quinton Flowers in the NFL?

ST. PETERSBURG — Reps have been priceless for Quinton Flowers this week, each to be maximized and handled with care.Yet he couldn't avoid handling some clumsily.On the opening day of practice at Shorecrest Prep for today's East-West Shrine Game...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
Time for Lightning leaders to snap team out of funk

Time for Lightning leaders to snap team out of funk

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Steven Stamkos sat at his stall in a near-empty Lightning dressing room Thursday and did what captains often do:He shouldered some blame for the Lightning's listless 4-1 loss to Vegas."As a leader, I've got to be a lot better,...
Updated: 17 minutes ago

Record 119 early draft entries

Quarterbacks Sam Darnold of USC, Lamar Jackson of Louisville and Josh Rosen of UCLA are among the record 106 underclassmen given special entry to the NFL draft, making it four of the last five seasons in which at least 95 players have declared early....
Updated: 19 minutes ago
Pieters leads Abu Dhabi, but DJ, Rory nearby

Pieters leads Abu Dhabi, but DJ, Rory nearby

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Thomas Pieters holed a bunker shot for a closing birdie and shot a second-round 65 Friday to take a one-stroke lead at the Abu Dhabi Championship as top-ranked Dustin Johnson moved into contention, while Rory McIlro...
Updated: 28 minutes ago

Taking long way to Blackhawks’ net

CHICAGO — For Jeff Glass, there have been so many stops during his existence as a hockey vagabond, so many different jerseys he has worn, so many teams he has tended goal for — from Binghamton, N.Y., to Belarus and plenty of other outposts in between...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Starstruck Kyrgios stays cool on court

Starstruck Kyrgios stays cool on court

MELBOURNE, Australia — With Will Smith in the crowd and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga across the net, Nick Kyrgios was in his element as the main attraction for a night at the Australian Open. Time to put on a show. One of his favorite actors — Smith was making...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Sports in Brief

BaseballTebow gets another crack at making mets Tim Tebow has been invited by the Mets to spring training for a second straight season.The 30-year-old will begin his second year of attempting to reach the big leagues when spring training opens in Por...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Will Brady play in title game? ‘We’ll see,’ he says

Will Brady play in title game? ‘We’ll see,’ he says

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Tom Brady played it coy Friday about his status for the AFC Championship Game after suffering a right (throwing) hand injury this week. The Patriots quarterback said a bit contentiously only "We’ll see" when asked whether he would...
Updated: 2 hours ago

George doing it on both ends gets OKC rolling

OKLAHOMA CITY — Thunder coach Billy Donovan can’t pinpoint the best thing about Paul George. Oklahoma City’s versatile forward averages just over 20 points per game, leads the league in steals and is third in 3-point goals while shooting 43 percent f...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Captain’s Corner: What to expect from fish coming out of the cold spell

Extreme cold has brought backcountry water temperatures down. As in years past, extreme dips have shocked many fish, especially snook, which take the biggest hit and become extremely lethargic and often near death. Luckily the cold won’t be long, and...
Updated: 4 hours ago