Woman makes NFL cheerleading squad at age 40

Mother of 2 never thought she'd make team
Associated Press
Jul 17, 2014

 

She hadn't done splits and high kicks in years, but 40-year-old dance instructor Kriste Lewis set a lofty goal — to try out for the New Orleans Saints cheerleading squad, known as the Saintsations.

Faced with competition from women in their 20s and 30s, Lewis never thought she'd make the team — and then, she did.

"I wanted to set a goal for myself, and the audition was a specific date that required specific training, so my goal was just to make it to the audition," said Lewis, who lives with her husband and two sons in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, about 100 miles northeast of New Orleans. "Honestly, I really did not think I was going to make it."

Lewis is one of only two NFL cheerleaders in her 40s, and she's the oldest to ever audition for the Saintsations, said Lesslee Fitzmorris, director of the squad since 2001. The other dancer is 45-year-old Laura Vikmanis, who has been with the Cincinnati Bengals dance team, the Ben-Gals, since making the squad at age 40.

"The applications hadn't been processed when the dance auditions started, so the judges didn't even know Kristi was 40 until she had made it through three rounds of cuts and revealed her age in the interview round," Fitzmorris said.

Something besides her age sets Lewis apart. A big part of her motivation was her will to make the most of every day since being diagnosed with a debilitating kidney disease that will eventually lead to dialysis treatments and the need for a kidney transplant. Several family members have died of the disease, and her mother has already undergone dialysis and two failed kidney transplants.

Lewis said she had to have her doctor's permission to join the 36-member Saintsations.

"I know my time is limited," Lewis said. "I don't want to let any time go. I want to make every day count."

Lewis will take the field with the Saintsations when the New Orleans Saints play their first exhibition game of the season Aug. 15 at the Superdome against the Tennessee Titans.

 

Comments

Kelly

Good for her!

mikeylikesit

with all due respect, she's hot!!

JACKEL

Likesit too.

deertracker

This really isn't a big deal. Take care of yourself and you can look young and be energetic too. 40 is no where near old and lots of the younger girls are large!

Chirp

Oh, come on deertracker. It IS a big deal considering the average age is probably about 23!

PS, lots of the older girls are large as well.

madeline10

You go girl!

JMOP's picture
JMOP

Good for her. Nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it!

meowmix

Sorry, but I think she looks every bit of being age 40 and maybe even then some. Let the young girls be the cheerleaders, this gal had her chance 20 years ago. Time to grow up.

deertracker

I agree. Take off a couple pounds of that make-up and she probably looks 50 or 60.

meowmix

lololol deertracker!! You said it! She can't do a darn thing about that "chicken skin neck" though...

thinkagain's picture
thinkagain

^^Typical mocking and derision from the peanut gallery. With parents like these, it’s no wonder bullying is so rampant in the young.^^

deertracker

My parenting days are over Rev. Don't get upset. We only spoke the truth!

Informed

What I can't comprehend is why any grown woman would want to be a cheerleader in the first place. Stupid.

meowmix

I'm guessing because all the Princess jobs were taken. :}