Tuesday 27 September 2016

Touchdown! Holly becomes Britain's first NFL cheerleader

Published 05/08/2016 | 14:41

Holly Warden, from Somerset, has become the first Briton to perform as a cheerleader in the National Football League (Miami Dolphins Ltd/PA)
Holly Warden, from Somerset, has become the first Briton to perform as a cheerleader in the National Football League (Miami Dolphins Ltd/PA)

A Somerset woman has carved out a small slice of history by becoming the first Briton to perform as a cheerleader in the National Football League (NFL) in America.

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Holly Warden, 25, was picked to join the illustrious Miami Dolphins cheerleading squad after out-dancing 200 other contestants at trials in Mexico.

Dancing through her childhood and teens, Ms Warden's love of the craft has taken her around the world - from London to Mexico and Brazil.

In 2015, she took part in a shoot for the James Bond film Spectre.

She recently flew to Florida and began pre-season training with the squad ahead of the first game on September 25, when the Dolphins play the Cleveland Browns.

Ms Warden said: "I have dreamt about this since school ... I still can't believe it.

"This is a dream come true for me and I am especially proud to be the only British NFL cheerleader.

"Cheerleading is about physical and mental strength as well as agility and athleticism.

"We are more than just cheerleaders ... active in our community visiting schools and hospitals, and bringing spirit to our military troops abroad."

The Dolphins' 65-000 seat stadium could hold the population of Congresbury village - where Ms Warden grew up - almost 19 times over.

Cheerleading is bigger culturally in America than in Britain, with regular performances at high school and college sports games. High-profile dancers are able to become well known in their own right.

Miami Dolphins spokeswoman Dorie Grogan said: "We are delighted to have Holly on the squad. The Dolphins cheerleaders are one of the most diverse groups in professional sports and our international auditions are a continuation of our goal to add diversity and international talent to our squad."

The final 36-strong team was chosen from more than 800 hopefuls and comprises eight nationalities, including Cuban, Venezuelan and Argentinian.

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