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26 January 2021 | in Summer FISU World University Games, Artistic Gymnastics

Following in the footsteps of her teammate, UCLA gymnast Nia Dennis takes the internet by storm

Dennis Celebrating 1Gymnasts Nia Dennis celebrates after her 9.950 floor routine performance that helped seal the win for University of California, Los Angeles last Saturday night at the UCLA Pauly Pavilion (photo credit: UCLA Athletics)The University of California at Los Angeles women's gymnastics team has dialled-in its Hollywood theatrics again.

 

Two years ago Katelyn Ohashi - one of the last women to beat four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles in an international all-around competition - became an overnight sensation with her Michael Jackson-themed routine. That video scored over 100 million views on YouTube. Now it is UCLA senior Nia Dennis taking the internet by storm.

 

Previously known for stoking the crowd on the bars, Dennis put down a near-perfect floor routine for a come-from-behind win last Saturday night for the Bruins over Arizona State University in the NCAA Pac-12 Conference play, 196.150 - 195.950.

 

Featuring the music of Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé, Missy Elliott, Soulja Boy, Tupac Shakur and Megan Thee Stallion, Dennis’ floor routine scored 9.950 to cap a brilliant return of intercollegiate gymnastics to the University of California, Los Angeles’s Pauley Pavilion.

 

While no fans were in attendance due to coronavirus social distancing measures in California, USA,  the gymnasts drew energy from their fellow teammates.

 

“It’s amazing to be back here competing. It was definitely different with no fans, but honestly, I couldn’t tell because the team’s energy was so great,” Dennis said in the postgame video press conference. “We brought all the energy and the light that we needed to.”

 

 

 

People can’t seem to get enough of Dennis’s performance, as her routine reverberated beyond the UCLA campus and has now gone viral on social.

 

The UCLA YouTube account already has over 500,000 views of her win-clinching routine, with sports fans, performers and celebrities alike revelling her performance.

 

Among those watching was Olympic gold medalist and legend-in-the-making Simone Biles, who was blown away with Nia’s performance, posting on Twitter “okay @DennisNia do the damn thing girl."

 

 

 

Dennis replied with a sweet and simple “thank you girl”

 

When asked what her favourite part of performing her routine, Dennis demurred but noted, “This routine reflects everything I am today as a woman. I incorporated a lot of my culture. I wanted to pay tribute to my father, he’s Greek, and stepping is really big. I also wanted to make it like a dance party because that’s my personality. And of course, I also had to shout out to L.A. for UCLA.”