Cheer's Gabi Butler 'Would Love' to Go to the Olympics for Cheerleading: 'I Think I Could Do It'
“At the end of the day if you do your best to be the best then there's nothing that can stop you if you have that mentality” Gabi Butler tells PEOPLE
Cheerleading sensation Gabi Butler has no problem handling the pressure.
The 23-year-old recently opened up about being dubbed the greatest of all time while discussing her partnership with Silk Oatmilk and the company's GOAT — greatest oatmilk of all time — campaign, telling PEOPLE that, "I think GOAT recognizes GOAT."
Butler started her cheerleading career when she was 8, later becoming a notable athlete in the competitive cheer community while on top all-star teams across the country. She earned two world cheerleading championship titles before becoming a member of Navarro College's cheer team and winning two collegiate national championship titles — a journey partially documented on Netflix's hit show Cheer.
"I've had pressures since I was little because I was known in the cheer world since I was like 12 and then the show just kind of magnified that it to other people who don't cheer. I've always had more eyes on me than the normal athlete but it's a part of being at the top," she explains. "At the end of the day if you do your best to be the best then there's nothing that can stop you if you have that mentality."
In the Netflix series, viewers got an inside look at the load Butler carries both on and off the mat, and as the athlete gets older, she's determined to go the extra mile to stay on top.
Though she's not in competition season right now, the cheerleader is still going hard with cardio, weightlifting, stunting, and any workouts that'll prepare her for the typical 2 minutes and 30 second-routines.
"I think that since I was a little girl I always wanted to push the limits and just really be the best at what I do," she says. "I carried that mentality throughout my whole life and I think it takes a lot to be an amazing athlete and it takes a lot to be the best at what you do. I really just try to stay as motivated and humble and hardworking as I can and really put a lot of time and effort into my training."
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She continues, "And with intense training you have to feed your body the proper things. Your body is your temple and what helps you go….Cheerleading is a lot more than just pom poms and rah rah rah. It's a very intense sport."
And now, the sport is getting its long-awaited global recognition. Earlier this month, the International Olympic Committee awarded full recognition to cheerleading. Though the earliest the sport could make its debut as an Olympic event is the Paris 2024 Games — following a petition from the ICU — Butler says there's no doubt in her mind about wanting to compete.
"If I had the opportunity I would absolutely want to do the Olympics. I would love to represent USA...and with my work ethic, I think I could do it," she tells PEOPLE.
The Cheer star adds that the news is a huge win for the sport and members of the cheerleading community.
"Cheerleading has always been a pretty fast-growing sport but I think it's just going to get more popular and start growing like wildfire now," she says. "It's crazy because so many people are seeing cheerleading and are like, 'Wow, I want to do that.' I see more and more people getting into cheerleading which is amazing."
Competitive cheerleading has received extensive support since last year's success of Navarro's Netflix documentary — which was nominated for six Emmy awards and won three. Despite a lot of speculation online, Netflix has yet to announce if Cheer will be returning for a second season. Without giving too much away, Butler simply teases, "I'm just going to let everyone find out on their own."
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