LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — UCLA gymnast Nia Dennis celebrated Los Angeles and hip hop music Sunday with her high-energy, thrilling floor routine hailed as an example of “Black excellence,” helping the team win over Arizona State.
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Dennis’ routine — which included snippets of well-known riffs from Kendrick Lamar, Beyonce, Missy Elliott, Souljaboy, Megan Thee Stallion and Tupac Shakur — had her teammates and coaches dancing with her and cheering wildly from the sidelines. Her routine included stepping, in tribute to the tradition of Historic Black Colleges and Universities, and the raised fist of the Black Power salute.
And in a particular salute to Los Angeles, Dennis threw her fingers up in a “W” as Shakur’s “California Love” played in the background.
The routine elicited high praise from fans, including superstar gymnast and gold medalist Simone Biles, who said Dennis was so fun to watch.
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One of the artists whose songs was used in the routine also had a one-word reaction.
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“This routine definitely reflects everything that I am today as a woman and, you know, of course I had to incorporate a lot of parts of my culture,” she said in a news conference after the meet. “I wanted to give a tribute to my father — he’s Greek, he was in fraternities and stepping is really big, so I wanted to incorporate that. I wanted to have a dance party because that’s my personality. And of course I had to shout out LA, because we’re out here, UCLA.”MORE NEWS: Woman, Child Found Dead Inside Rancho Cucamonga Home
Dennis is the latest UCLA gymnast to rocket to social media stardom, after Katelyn Ohashi in 2019 scored a perfect 10 at the Collegiate Challenge in Anaheim.