'Cheerlebrities': Inside the Lives of Cheerleading Super Stars

Part 1: Families of competitive cheerleaders devote everything to preparing for big competitions.
9:36 | 07/13/14

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:



Skip to this video now

Now Playing:


Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for 'Cheerlebrities': Inside the Lives of Cheerleading Super Stars
You're about to meet three families who have made huge sacrifices for their kids. Hundreds of hours, thousands of dollars and their entire lives rearranged. All that for cheerleading. And they're headed for the competition of their lives. Everything they've invested comes down to just a few crucial moments. Hair is part of the show. If it's not done, it looks sloppy out there. Today, gabby and her mom need every hair to be perfectly in place. She's hungry, tired. Stressed. Meanwhile -- Michael is terrified he might miss the most important moment of his life. So stressful. The fact this is my last words intensifies everything. Right now is basically do or die. For Carly, the pressure is almost too much. I wouldn't want to disappoint people by giving up. For these three world class athletes, thousands of hours of training and countless injuries have led up to this one day. Welcome to the world championships of competitive cheerleading. Do you believe in you? Yes! Do you believe in us? Yes! No pom poms in sight. Here, the risk is high and the stakes are even higher. Any given moment, something can happen. A single miss can cost the athletes and their families everything they've worked for. I'm a mom who loves her kids above and beyond and I will do whatever they want. Our story begins in this Texas jum, two months before the world championships. Where 15-year-old Carly has been training for more than half her life. Let's go wildcats! This year, for the first time, she's made it onto the wildcats. They compete at the most advanced level. Practices are very important, especially here. That's where you are trying to east earn your spot. We're all trying to earn to be on the team. Her team is hoching that Carly's ability to fly to record-breaking heights like this will help them win back-to-back championships. And it's not a bad bet. Up there, those are all -- not all of my medal, but most of the medals that I've won over the years. But for all these wins, this teenager has had to make some sacrifices. I haven't watched TV in, I cannot tell you how long. Very busy years filled with very busy days. Most like this one start at 6:00 A.M. I usually have 16-hour days. I love you. Love you, too. First school. And off to practice. We're going to the gym. Basically this is the only opportunity I have to do home work. Carly's mom spends 15 hours on the road every week because of cheer. There are times they have to remind Carly, hey, I'm doing this for you, you know, there's things that I could be doing, but I'm spending time making sure that you get to practice and get the things you need. And with just a week to go before the world championship, the schedule is about to get way more untense. And so are the practices. When you come in here for the next practices, including if you got mono, if you have stress, if you have a broken leg and the leg is sticking out the side of your body, you have a smile on your face and you fake it the entire practice. You can do it. You can do it. Flipping, spinning, throwing girls in the air. That's the dangerous part of cheerleading. I actually broke my right ankle. I've had various hamstring injuries. I want to do it until my body breaks. One, two, three -- Her mom, however, does believe all this sacrifice serves a purpose. How was practice? You learn so many lessons that she wouldn't learn outside of cheerleading. Carly is, after all, a straight-a student, but Cindy still worries her daughter might be taking this dream too far. If I had to give up cheer or give up school I would give up school. Like, that makes no sense. I don't know. Well, I want to cheer. Cheer where? True. Okay. But surprisingly, Carly has become a celebrity of sorts, with almost half a million followers on instagram. Oh, my gosh! Gabi is always a cheerlebrity. She even has groupies. It really does make me feel good, even though sometimes I'll get, like, a little overwhelmed. This kind of fame is not what drives her to keep flipping. Step, and one, two, and three and four. I love doing by best and being with my team and, like, making memories out of it. And she has a loft them. She has been cheering since she was 8. Because of her extraordinary flexibility, this Florida girl was recruited by one of the most elite teams in the country, based in California. Gabi is completely good to cheer. Like, her oxygen. To further gabi's cheer dreams, her mother made a difficult decision to split up the family. Leaving her husband and two other children behind. We're a very tight knit family. This is taking our hearts and putting them on the other side of the country. Their home away from home has become an accidental cheerhouse. Debbie is den mom to a handful of teenagers at any given time. It became like the grand central station home. I'm just a mom. I'm not a cheer mom. I'm a mom who loves her kids above and beyond and I will do whatever they want. We need to finish this. In order to raise a star like gabi, she must manage every last detail of her daughter's life. You need lashes, right? I don't work. This is what I do. From what to pack to the color of her nails. Let me see. Just a little more. Because they tumble. Do you know what tumbling is? If it was up to me, cheerleading would be like back ponytail with natural makeup. She doesn't like to wear makeup. Doesn't like to do her hair. Unfortunately for gabi and her mom, cheer involves a lot of primping. Can you not touch my face? Gabi seriously, my back is out, you know this. And if I have to move your head one more time I'm got going to do it anymore. I have fought more with my children more than anything over hair. It's taken more than just an E motional toll. How much money do you think you've spent on supporting your daughter's cheer? We're in the hundreds of thousands with the three girls. A lot of this money is spent on traveling to competitions. Luckily, though, for this cheer family that's split across the country, it's a perfect excuse for a reunion. I'm seeing my dad and my sister for the first time and I'm really excited. I haven't seen them in, like, forever. It's very much about being together as a family and enjoying the time. Just kind of supporting each other. Michael is also a cheerlebrity. I love that he's a cheerleader. Don't say that word. But he's not your typical cheerleader. He's a football player, buzz he was betting than the high school cheerleaders that were cheering for him. This is the hardest sport I've ever done. He actually turned to cheer because of football. Wanted to learn how to do a back flip if I ever scored a touchdown. Foot bam, it's like a brotherhood. Cheer is just, you know, it's performing, it's going in front of a crowd and feeling like a rock star for 2:45. Being a male cheerleader has its challenges. At first, I was scared to get made fun of. I didn't want to be that kid that was denying something. So, I decided, if anyone asks me, I'm going to own up to it. Michael's family had little trouble accepting his decision, because they were already a cheer family, his sister was in part his inspiration. I thought it was a thing that girls did. But once my son was involved, I saw the conditioning that they have in the cheer program. I developed a lot of respect for cheer. Now, at 19, Michael is about to age out of his team, so, the upcoming world championships are his final hurrah. I want to win a third consecutive world title. I have to be a good leader on my team. Don't really wanted to distracted right now. This is my last year. I want to make it solid. For gabi and Michael, it's their last chance to practice at home before they have to defend their world title. Do you guys want to win? Do you want to hit? Do you want to feel confident? But they're not looking like the champions they are known to be. This already should be perfect there's no reason why stuff is falling. Three, hit, hold, and one. After three mistakes, coach Eddie has had enough. Three, four mistakes in one section is not acceptable. They're cooling off a little bit. Definitely punishment. Hopefully we won't do it again.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"duration":"9:36","description":"Part 1: Families of competitive cheerleaders devote everything to preparing for big competitions.","mediaType":"default","section":"ABCNews/Nightline","id":"24543073","title":"'Cheerlebrities': Inside the Lives of Cheerleading Super Stars","url":"/Nightline/video/cheerlebrities-inside-lives-cheerleading-super-stars-24543073"}