A young athlete who had her leg amputated when she was just one now performs with two different cheerleading groups – and has started wakeboarding in her spare time.
Mikenzie Adams, 11, from Yermo, California, started cheering when she was four and immediately developed a knack for tumbling with her prosthetic leg.
The talented youngster also starred in a Nike commercial alongside Lebron James and Serena Williams.
No pyramid is high enough! 11-year-old Mikenzie Adams had her right leg amputated when she was a baby – but that doesn’t stop her from becoming a star cheerleader
Flipping Great: The California native started cheering when she was four years old and has now set her sights on competing in the 2028 Paralympic Games
In the 2020 ad, Mikenzie performs a tumble routine on a beach before transforming into Olympic champion Simone Biles.
She also took part in an Athleta Girl photo shoot for the brand’s summer issue, ‘to show others with limb loss that they can do whatever they set their mind to.’
Mikenzie was born with a rare disease that results in the partial or total absence of the tibia.
Doctors amputated her right leg above the knee when she was just one to give her the best chance for an active future.
She got her first prosthetic leg when she was 16 months old, and she hasn’t slowed down since.
“At first I didn’t really understand what a great athlete she was,” said Mikenzie’s grandmother, Mary Adams-Sioss, 62.
Overcoming Obstacles: Mikenzie was born with a rare disease that results in the partial or total absence of the tibia, and doctors amputated her leg to give it a chance for an active life
Brave: She got a prosthetic limb when she was just 16 months old, and by the time she was four, she’d mastered cartwheels and started cheering
Talented: Now Mikenzie competes with two different teams, ParaCheer Spirit, a para cheer team based in Illinois, and Spirit Athletics, an all-star able-bodied cheer team in her hometown
But she could cartwheel at four o’clock. She has also become a very good dancer and stunter and has a huge appeal to the audience.
“She owns the stage when she’s out there.”
Mikenzie now performs with ParaCheer Spirit, a para cheer team based in Illinois, and Spirit Athletics, an all-star able-bodied cheer team based in her hometown of Yermo.
Her ultimate goal is to cheer the US on at the 2028 Paralympic Games.
“People have accepted it quite well,” said Mary.
Some of her friends didn’t even realize she was missing a leg until she removed it after training.
“Now and then people stare but she owns it.”
Although the COVID-19 pandemic prevented Mikenzie from performing live this year, she still managed to win several virtual competitions.
Superstar: The youngster appeared in a Nike ad last year showing off her tumbling skills on the beach
Idol: In the ad, Mikenzie turns into Olympic gymnast Simone Biles (right)
Skills: The video campaign was released during the coronavirus pandemic to show how athletes overcome obstacles to continue training
Preview: Mikenzie hopes to compete for Team USA in the 2028 Paralympic Games
Mikenzie said, “Virtual competition is the worst.”
“The virtual matches were different, but she did a pretty good job of it,” added Mary.
When she’s not practicing in her cheer gym or on Zoom with her Paracheer Spirit team, Mikenzie spends her time hitting the waves.
Slowly but surely she has mastered water sports and can now even reverse with her wakeboard.
With summer approaching, Mikenzie is looking forward to spending a little more time in the water than on the mat.
In September, she will compete in the 2021 International Cheer Union Worlds in Orlando, before further preparing for her Olympic goals.