Ariel Yew '20 Competes at the Cheerleading World Championships in Florida

Ariel Yew © Via Stichting Team Cheerleading NL

Ariel Yew '20 will compete in the International Cheer Union Cheerleading World Championship from 24-26 April in Orlando, Florida. Yew is amongst 45 athletes selected to represent the Netherlands. We caught up with her to learn about how her cheerleading journey and how it has progressed since her time at UCU.

What motivated you to become a cheerleader and pursue a career in the sport?

I was first inspired to become a cheerleader when I was 11 years old and watched the national cheerleading competition of Malaysia on television. I immediately knew that this was what I wanted to do. Fortunately, at the age of 13, I was placed in a high school that had a cheerleading team!

I have always loved to do performances since I was young. I was interested in and preferred “performance” sports like gymnastics and figured skating over badminton. What truly kept my passion alive for cheerleading, in contrast to gymnastics for example, is the emphasis on teamwork.

Within our team, everyone has their own set of strengths and weaknesses. However, as a team, we compensate for each other's weaknesses and amplify our strengths. This allows us to elevate the (athletic) potential of the entire group to a much higher level. In cheerleading, you don’t have to excel at every aspect of the sport to contribute. Personally, I may not be good at tumbling, but I am good at flying. So, while you tumble, I will fly, making it a seamless routine! 

My passion for cheerleading is the combination of performance and teamwork

As an international competing athlete and a full-time communications manager at Philips, how do you balance your athletic career with your professional career?

Honestly, this has been quite a challenge! Balancing work, coaching, and being an athlete has been quite the ride. What helped me get through it all was the great support system I have around me. My family, friends, and even my co-workers at Philips were aware of the demands on my time and always offered support whenever I needed it. This experience made me realize the importance of keeping the people around you informed about what's going on in your life. Not only does it help you receive support, but you can also benefit from their advice. Furthermore, prioritising both physical and mental health is crucial. I've had to turn down quite a few social outings to prioritize my health and cheer commitments.

As the founder of UCU Cheer, how has your experience with UCU and the cheerleading community shaped your post-UCU experiences?

I want to extend a BIG THANK YOU to UCU. UCU is the reason I was able to establish another team at Olympos. The flexibility and liberalism I experienced at UCU provided me with the opportunity to build my first team in a safe, healthy, and supportive environment. It gave me the courage to do it all over again.

As an international student at UCU, I learned how to be independent and organise myself, especially when under pressure, such as during weeks with multiple exams. While the challenges you face as a working adult are different, the experience feels somewhat similar. I often tell myself that if I was able to achieve good grades in the past, there's no reason why I can't excel in my work and sport as well.

Last but not least, I've made some wonderful lifelong friends through creating UCU CheerCo. A few UCU alumni are now part of the new Olympos Cheerleading team! One of the reasons I love cheerleading so much is because of the people. Despite having our own responsibilities, exams, and jobs outside of cheer, we always show up to practice, no matter what. And that's truly amazing.

About Ariel

Ariel Yew is an ICU Certified Cheerleading Coach. At UCU she founded CheerCo and is also the founder and coach of Everest Cheerleading located at Sportscentrum Olympos in Utrecht.