Atlanta Falcons Cheerleader auditions were held Wednesday night in downtown Atlanta. The competition was tough, but 36 women made the cut for the 2017 season.
The Atlanta Falcons are known for their toughness. Wednesday night, an Atlanta Falcons cheerleader proved that the trait extends beyond the field to the sidelines.
Alexandria G. performed the final routine for Atlanta Falcons Cheerleader auditions with a broken foot in a bedazzled boot in front of a row of judges at Terminal West in downtown Atlanta.
Two days before, she was preparing for this moment Monday night when a jump went wrong and her chance for fourth season as an Atlanta Falcons Cheerleader was in jeopardy.
"Monday evening we were doing our two eight-counts of improv," Alexandria recalled. "I was doing a turning sequence and I went down for a jump and heard two pops. Pop. Pop. I ended up breaking my fifth metatarsal"
Alexandria says she had performed a hundred repetitions of the same sequence and that the injury was "just an unfortunate, fluke injury."
And in that moment there was so much uncertainty.
"I was very nervous and very scared, but at the same time I've had three amazing years. My rookie year I went to London, my second season was awesome just because I was a vet, I was on the first row in my line that I was in, and then last year I was a captain and got to go to the Super Bowl," said Alexandria.
After the finalists perform, they exit the audition room and wait as the judges tally the score. When everything is set, the girls enter the room together to learn the final cut.
Alexandria said this is when she started to reflect on the last three seasons and "all of the amazing things that have happened."
"If it was my time, then it was my time," Alexandria said.
Atlanta Falcons cheerleading coordinator, Chato Hendrix, explained before announcing who made the team that there would be two changes for the final cut. First, they were going to share who had the highest dance score for the night; the first girl to make the squad. Second, there would be a special pick made by Falcons senior director of game presentation, events and stadium productions, Pete Soto; "Pete's Pick."
The highest dance score went to Sydney H., who will return to the Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders for her second season.
Pete's Pick was Alexandria G.
When Alexandria heard her name, she started crying.
"I was trying to be hopefully optimistic, but trying to be rational," said Alexandria. "There was an incredible amount of talent this year."
Soto says, "[Alexandria] represents everything that is great about our team and is the embodiment of sisterhood. She was a team captain last year who led by example and insisted on trying out for the team despite having a broken foot. That sheer determination, dedication and will is something I want back on this team."
Alexandria is still unsure of her road to recovery. Surgery is not out of the question. Regardless of what the next step is, Wednesday night she celebrates as one of 36 Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders for the 2017 season.
Falcons fans can look forward to seeing Alexandria in action as she brings her toughness and energy back to the sidelines as the Falcons kick-off in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in 2017.