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April 19, 2013

Sooners won’t sell anything short for nationals

No. 2 Oklahoma looking for first national title.

NORMAN — Brie Olson didn’t hold anything back. When the Oklahoma senior completed her vault attempt at the NCAA Regional championships, she had a giant smile on her face and pumped her fist into the air.

Even before her score had been announced, Olson’s reaction let the crowd at Lloyd Noble Center know she knew she had done well.

“That’s a little something we call passion,” OU coach K.J. Kindler said. “They wear it on their sleeves. When they finish a routine, there is no hiding how they feel about it or how their teammates feel about it. We’ve given them free reign to express it in any way they need to express it. We like them to show emotion like that. It’s the great part about the sport.”

One of the reasons Oklahoma has been so successful over the past seven years is not just its talent. It’s the showmanship Kindler has instilled into the team. The Sooners make sure and sell every routine. Whether it was a high score or not, they have the crowd believing they had performed a perfect 10.

“You always land and finish like it was the best thing no matter what,” Olson said. “That’s what we are taught. I think that gets the judges thinking, ‘Wow, that was really good.’ They are very happy about it, so I’m happy about it.

“I think it’s pure enjoyment. I don’t think any of it is fake. It’s all real.”

While the Sooners’ exuberance has served them well in the regular season and early rounds of the postseason, it has yet to garner them a national championship.

The squad hopes that changes this weekend as the No. 2 Sooners (19-1) compete in the 2013 Women’s Gymnastics NCAA Championships at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles. While the team has made it to the coveted Super 6, the closest it has come to winning the title is a runner-up finish in 2010.

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