University of California, Berkeley, gymnast Emi Watterson accomplished the near impossible when she got a perfect score for her uneven bars routine on Saturday. But to make matters more exciting, she gave her top-notch performance while wearing a mask.
Watterson, a senior at UC Berkeley from Brisbane, Australia, swung gracefully from one bar to the other, hitting multiple handstands in the process, during a meet over the weekend against University of Utah. She stuck the landing after spinning in multiple flips, all while wearing a blue mask that matched her leotard. When she dismounted, it’s clear she knew she’d accomplished something special as her teammates immediately started cheering her on.
Cal Women’s Gymnastics shared a clip of her routine on Instagram, calling Watterson “a perfect 10” in the caption. It added that she’s only the second Cal gymnast in history to earn a 10 on bars, the first since 1992.
Watterson may’ve also accomplished another milestone outside the University of California sphere. She retweeted a fan account calling her the first gymnast in NCAA history to score a 10 while wearing a mask. Unfortunately, the NCAA told TODAY it couldn’t firm whether this is the case as it does not track if athletes wear masks at competitions.
Another University of California school, UCLA, is known for its headline-making gymnastics routines. Nia Dennis, a senior at UCLA, went viral in January for her standout floor routine a year after previously going viral with the help of Beyoncé. January’s floor routine was set to a mashup by Black artists, including Kendrick Lamar, Missy Elliott and Megan Thee Stallion.
“This is what #blackexcellence looks like,” the UCLA Gymnastics account tweeted alongside a clip of Dennis’ routine.
The week following her viral routine, Dennis appeared on TODAY to discuss the reaction on social media, including praise from former first lady Michelle Obama, Simone Biles and Missy Elliott herself.
“Oh, my goodness, this week has been so crazy, so insane,” she said. “I’m just overwhelmed with love and joy, and so many positive messages and so many positive vibes. I’m just so grateful.”
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