Getting older never looked so good as Laura Vikmanis! The Fearsome Forties, as some call them, are much less frightening now that Vikmanis has shown the world that age only has as much power over you as you’ll let it.
The Story Of A Cheerleader At 40
At the age of 39, Vikmanis dreamt of being a cheerleader for the Cincinnati Ben-Gals, the cheerleading squad for the team of the same name (Bengals as opposed to Ben-Gals). She tried out and made it all the way to the final stage before being cut. Despite being disappointed, Vikmanis kept up her physical fitness and was fortunate enough to meet one of the dancers for the Ben-Gals the following year. With her endorsement and assistance in training, Vikmanis tried out again at 40 years old, and she made the squad!
To put this fact in perspective, Vikmanis was roughly 20 years older than her fellow cheerleaders. She’s even older than most of the players! One person that’s definitely got her beat is the coach, as Vikmanis sheepishly agreed, “He’s a little older than me.”
Vikmanis has a background in fitness, as she’s been a registered dietician for years. As she got closer to her 40th birthday in 2008, this mother of two started to find that life was taking a toll on her body. Her health and weight were trending in the wrong direction.
Her Daughters Were One Of Her Main Motivations
Before being drawn to cheerleading, Vikmanis took up a few physical hobbies, including drum and golf lessons. Then, as fate would have it, she went to see a few games of her local team.
“I was at a point in my life where I was like, ‘What do I really want to do? What’s something in my life that makes me happy?'” Laura shared with reporters. “I went to a couple games and saw the cheerleaders and thought that looked really, really fun.”
After meeting a Ben-Gal at one of her dance classes, this unlikely idea turned into a distinct possibility. With extensive training and one failed attempt under her belt, she made history and joined the squad at 40 years old. One of her primary motivations was to show her two daughters, Lila and Alexa, that hard work and perseverance can make any goal reachable. Both of her daughters are aspiring cheerleaders.
Once Vikmanis made the Ben-Gals squad, it didn’t all of a sudden become a walk in the park.
“I was extremely intimidated because I’m literally 20 years older than these girls,” Vikmanis said. “But I really felt like I just needed to do this for me.”
Her fellow cheerleaders couldn’t help but admire her dedication to fitness and the respect that she had for herself. In fact, many of Vikmanis’ fellow squadmates have said she’s become a real role model for them.
Age Is Just A Number
It might be kitschy to say, but Vikmanis proved that age really is just a number. She took on something that most people her age would never have dreamed of. Vikmanis continued as a cheerleader for the Ben-Gals until she was 43, and she’s since written a book and even sold the rights to her story for film purposes.
Perhaps someday soon, we’ll see her inspiring story played out on the big screen!