Earlier this week, I was shocked and sad to learn that Ultimate Athletics, one of the Midwest’s premier all star cheerleading programs, closed their doors. I created Cheer Theory based on a passion for cheerleading that was in large part built inside Ultimate Athletics walls after they merged with Cheer Fusion. I rarely bring up my own personal ties to gyms, but this moment is especially sad for those with personal connections to the Royal Family.
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding Ultimate’s closing, I want to celebrate the amazing routines and moments Ultimate brought to the cheerleading community. Since UA opened in 2001, they held their own against every single gym in the Midwest, as well as the country. Fun fact! They won Illinois’ first Worlds medal in 2010.
UA had solid Worlds teams and brought multiple teams to the World Championship for several years. A few teams that have graced the stage include Legacy, Prodigy, Dynasty, Valor, Sovereignty, and Dominance, their hip hop team. Ultimate was known for many things including iconic choreography, distinct motions, routine flow, and smooth stunt sequences.
Ultimate Athletics athletes have gone on to cheer at the University of Louisville, Indiana University, University of Kentucky, University of Wisconsin Madison, University of Illinois, University of Miami Florida, Cheer Athletics, Cheer Extreme, California All Stars, Top Gun, and countless others.
I reached out to a few old friends and coaches and asked them to share with me their favorite moments at UA.
Today, my favorite color is purple
Ultimate Athletics Legacy was the premier team that put the program on the map. Their iconic voice-overs quickly became fan favorites – both 2007 and 2088 were iconic. Legacy was known for their visually pleasing stunts. Lip gloss, hair, bow, flawless.
Dynasty’s Worlds 2010 routine
Back in the day, when junior teams were still allowed to compete at Worlds, Dynasty, their junior coed 5 team, took home the bronze medal. Athletes fondly remember how they weren’t even supposed to go to Worlds, then making it to finals, and pulling off a routine worthy of the Worlds’ podium. This routine is quintessential UA – tight motions and flowing formations. This routine was Illinois’ first Worlds medal.
UA’s first coed Worlds team, Prodigy
Ultimate Athletics Prodigy, their first coed Worlds team, held up their own at national competitions and at Worlds. In 2010 they placed 6th in the semi-limited coed division.
This video of Sinnell’s epic commentary…
Please watch this video, it will make you laugh. “You in front of ESPN girl! You are in front of E.S.P.N.”
That time Prodigy almost beat Top Gun at JamFest Super Nationals
In 2010-2011 Top Gun was in the medium coed division and Prodigy came real close to beating them.
A solid lower level program
Ultimate Athletics invested time in all of their athletes from mini level 1 to their senior level 5s. Over the years, we saw countless solid routines at every level. For example, Divinity 2016, their large coed 4 team, slayed that stage.
Legacy making finals at Worlds 2017
Legacy 2017 competed in the medium senior 5 division at Worlds this year. They made it to finals in an incredibly tough division dominated by large gyms from across the country and placed 8th.
The quarter-year team, Valor
Ultimate Athletics has fielded a large senior coed 5 team at Worlds for the past few years. What most people probably don’t know is that this team is made up of high school cheerleaders who want to end the season at Worlds. In about 3 months, these kids whipped up a routine that landed them in finals in both 2016 and 2017.
The three-foot tall stunting barbies
Ultimate Athletics’ resident gym rats started a craze around three-foot tall Barbies that they dressed up in duct tape to look like famous teams’ uniforms (i.e. Senior Elite, F5, Shooting Stars, Lady Bullets, etc.). They would then stunt with them and bring them to competitions. It was ridiculous and awesome.
The colorful coaching staff
Ultimate was known for their colorful, vivacious coaching staff. Please enjoy this picture of Demo and Nick dressed in drag at a UA event.
Ultimate Athletics was home to thousands of athletes over the years and this is just a brief snapshot of some of the best moments. As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. We’ll miss seeing the purple, blue, and white take the mat at competitions across the nation.