-- A video of an extraordinary Australian cheerleading squad has captured the eyes and hearts of millions.
The team, known as the Oxygen All Stars Lithium, includes cheerleader Debbie Threlfo, who uses a wheelchair. Threlfo's teammates seamlessly incorporated her into the routine, which earned them the title of Special Ability champions.
The video of the winning routine was posted to Facebook Friday and has since received more than six million views, with thousands of comments celebrating the inclusive squad.
In the routine, Threlfo’s teammates lift her out of her chair and help her to perform some impressive stunts.
“The inclusion of the Special Ability division within our competitions gives athletes with special needs the opportunity to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and determination, experience joy and success, and participate in the social as aspects of friendship and teamwork in a safe and encouraging environment,” Stephen James, executive director of the Australian All Star Cheerleading Federation, told ABC News in an email.
James also said that Special Abilities teams are treated no differently from the rest of the cheer community and judged according to the same strict rules and guidelines.
Shortly after the video was posted, the AASCF posted to Facebook again expressing its excitement and gratitude for all the attention the video was getting.
“Not only did Deb and her team thrill & inspire all of us at the event but they have captured the hearts of MILLIONS from all over the World!!!”