Sophina DeJesus, Proud of Her African-American and Puerto Rican Roots


Gymnast Sophina DeJesus made waves with her hip-hop moves during a university competition. Now a video of her routine has gone viral. As Remezcla announces, “the gymnast who went viral” wants everyone to know that she is part African-American and part Puerto Rican. Here are excerpts of an article by Victor Mather (The New York Times) “UCLA gymnast slips in hip-hop moves, and the online crowd goes wild,” followed by related links [many thanks to Peter Jordens for this information].

Sophina DeJesus of the U.C.L.A. gymnastics team 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 fans and DeJesus’s 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.” She added: “My sister Savannah is an awesome dancer. She helped me with the choreo and made it more fun.”

The floor exercise is not even DeJesus’s best event; she was an all-American on bars, and she has made only limited floor appearances over her U.C.L.A. career. Saturday’s performance, which was widely shared on social media, was her first floor exercise of the season.

[. . .] DeJesus’s 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 help or hinder scoring from traditional judges.

For full article, see

Also see: The Gymnast who went viral wants you to know she’s African-American and Puerto Rican (Remezcla, February 9, 2016)

UCLA gymnast Sophina DeJesus Whips, Nae Naes, and Slays (Leah Donnella, NPR, February 10, 2016)

UCLA Gymnast Sophina DeJesus Dabs and Nae Naes all over her floor routine,

Gymnast Sophina DeJesus’s hip-hop routine wows the internet (BBC, February 9, 2016)

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