With Katelyn Ohashi’s gymnastics career coming to an end last year when she graduated from college, the internet was crying out for a new viral star.
And Nia Dennis delivered in spades over the weekend with a Beyonce-inspired routine that has become a global hit.
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Competing for UCLA on Saturday - the same college Ohashi attended - Dennis scored a 9.975 with a floor routine performed to Beyonce hits like “Crazy in Love” and “Lose my Breath”.
She capped off the routine by placing a fake crown on her head - a nod to Queen Bey herself.
Naturally, the internet immediately fell in love.
But it wasn’t just fans who sat up and took notice, with celebrities such as Alicia Keys and Gabrielle Union taking to social media with praise.
“Look at this unstoppable power and confidence!! Was just talking about how nothing gives you more power then being yourself! Shine Nia Dennis, I’m inspired!!” wrote Keys.
“Nia Dennis is ending #BlackHistoryMonth the right way ― by showcasing her Black excellence. Beyoncé herself would be proud,” US Senator Kamala Harris tweeted.
“Represent,” said Union.
“Go Nia,” wrote Olympic champion gymanist Aly Raisman.
“Yes, Nia Dennis a performance to make us all proud! Inspiring, you are destined for great things. Did you have to hit the whoa on them like that?” wrote TV star Steve Harvey.
👀👀👀 look at this unstoppable power and confidence!! 💥💥💥 Was just talking about how nothing gives you more power then being yourself! Shine @DennisNia, I’m inspired!! — Alicia Keys (@aliciakeys) February 28, 2020
Going into the weekend like 🤸🏽♂️ 🤸🏽♂️ 🤸🏽♂️ pic.twitter.com/wd2EAvCATO
OMG!— Fiducia (@cmpnwtr) March 1, 2020
This was amazing then, still gives me goosebumps now 🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉— ❤✨Joanne C✨❤ (@joanne_k_c) February 28, 2020
Incredibly, the performance came on her 21st birthday.
“I am overwhelmed with happiness and joy, thank you everyone for such positive messages, it means the world to me to have your support,” Dennis wrote on Twitter.
“This is so surreal I can’t even believe it! much love always.”
I am overwhelmed with happiness and joy, thank you everyone for such positive messages, it means the world to me to have your support. this is so surreal i can’t even believe it! much love always.. -xx nations 💕— Nianation🔑 (@DennisNia) February 28, 2020
Following Ohashi’s lead
Ohashi became a viral sensation in 2018 with a series of routines that scored perfect 10s.
She first broke into viral status with her Michael Jackson-themed floor exercise during the 2018 Pac-12 championships that later won her a national title.
In January 2019 she shattered it with a more refined performance for a perfect 10.
She used TV appearances to talk about body shaming and coming back from the depths of the sport.
And in March, she changed up her routine slightly and swapped to an all-female soundtrack.
with Yahoo Sports US