Athlete inspires others to cheer

Born with only one arm, Abbie Amsler has not only become an accomplished gymnast and overall cheer athlete, but an inspirational social media darling because of her amazing athleticism. (Dana Delgado Photo)

Born with only one arm, Abbie Amsler has not only become an accomplished gymnast and overall cheer athlete, but an inspirational social media darling because of her amazing athleticism. (Dana Delgado Photo)

By Dana Delgado

Several times each day, Abbie Amsler is asked the same question by a multitude of classmates, awed onlookers and a growing number of inspired international admirers.

“How do you do it?” they ask in amazement of her phenomenal success in the strenuous and precise cheer competition world that includes team routines, stunts and gymnastics. Her achievement in itself is impressive, but to be so accomplished with only one arm make her feats extraordinary.

When asked, the Leander eighth grader really doesn’t know what to say. A bit uncomfortable by the attention and naturally shy, the humble Miss Amsler usually responds by saying that with hard work anything is possible. Signing autographs and posing for pictures, however, are “really awkward” for the cheer competition athlete who will be attending Rouse High School next year.

“I don’t see it as an obstacle,” said Miss Amsler, who was born without her left forearm. “I just want to keep going until I can’t do it anymore.”

By doing what she does best on the mat at competition meets, Miss Amsler has become a darling of social media. She has garnered a worldwide following of 65,000 on Instagram. Her diverse admirers praise her for her success and thank her for being such an inspiration.

One Instagram admirer wrote: “I’m 11 and swear you are like my biggest role model on earth. I love you so much and you’re so inspiring. When I grow up I want to be a cheerleader just like you.”

Another follower wrote: “I just wanted to say that you inspired me to do the things I didn’t think I could do! I found you on Instagram, showed my mom some of your videos, and we were all inspired. Thank you very much. Keep being yourself.”

“When I get comments like those, it makes me feel really important and it feels amazing to know that people look up to me,” said Miss Amsler said.

“The attention has put some pressure on Abbie, but it’s only motivated her to do better,” said her mother, Katie Amsler.

The cheer athlete gave up other sports this year including volleyball and basketball to focus on cheer competition. She is presently a member of Team Pride, a 17-member team that practices at Courage Cheer & Dance United, Liberty Hill’s premiere training facility for cheerleaders, dance team members and gymnasts. Miss Amsler says she spends a horde of hours at the facility practicing along with her teammates to perfect their 2 1/2-minute routine for competition meets and is thankful to her coaches, Jordan Sprinkles and Jason Hedges, for their guidance.

“I really like competition,” Miss Amsler said. “It gets me excited and you get to meet a lot of different people.”

Cheer athletes compete by skill level and age. Miss Amsler is presently at the highest level possible for her age group. She competes in an average of 8-10 competitions a year and is hoping her team gets a bid to the nationally televised World Competition scheduled for Orlando, Florida.

She says tumbling is her best skill and a double full (two flips) has been a real triumph and her signature routine. On the other hand, having to perform stunts where she helps form the base for a team pyramid, has been particularly challenging. In 2013, she placed first in the tumbling competition at a meet in San Marcos and was named the team’s Cheerleader of the Year. This year, the cheer athlete took top honors in tumbling with Best Jump at another competition.

“Abbie is amazing,” said teammate and best friend Grace Welsh. “She’s really good.”

Miss Amsler first started tumbling at age two and started cheering at eight. Her mother — a former cheerleader herself — got her into the sport.

“My mom has always been there for me,” the cheer athlete said. “She started me jumping on a trampoline when I was a baby.”

Abbie will age out of cheer competition at age 18 but hopes to cheer at Rouse High School as well as in college.

Away from the mat and competition, Miss Amsler said she has strong interests in writing and would like to someday become an author. She particularly likes fiction and has been influenced by current author John Green.

Currently, she is a member of the National Junior Honor Society and is taking advanced classes in mathematics and Language Arts. Miss Amsler is also participating in the district’s gifted program and was a member of an Imagination Destination team that placed sixth in the state in 2012. In addition, she captured Second Place in the Spelling Bee and is involved in community and business activities. She assists with the Meals-on-Wheels Program and has participated in business promotions.

Miss Amsler would also like to own a gym someday and travel the world. For now through her amazing exploits on the mat, Miss Amsler is inspiring others around the world to pursue their dreams.