laura vik Laura Vikmanis: The NFL's oldest cheerleader at 42

Most cheerleaders begin their career around their late teens or early ’20s. Laura Vikmanis, 42, is almost 20 years older than most of her teammates on the Cincinnati Bengals’ cheerleading squad, the Ben-Gals, and is the NFL’s oldest cheerleader. Vilkmanis talked about her decision to tryout for the team with Yahoo!.

]]>The mother of two was inspired to try out for the squad after attending a game and watching the girls perform. She first tried out for the team when she was 39 and made it all the way to the finals but ultimately wasn’t selected. “I was extremely intimidated because I’m literally 20 years older than these girls,” she says. For the next year, she worked diligently on her fitness and made the squad at the next tryout.  laura vilkmanis Laura Vikmanis: The NFL's oldest cheerleader at 42Vikmanis hopes she can inspire her daughters, Lila, 14, and Alexa, 12, to make their dreams come true no matter their age. “I look at myself as a role model for my children to show them no matter what age or what dream you have, you can work really hard and achieve it.” At the very least, she has inspired her teammates. “It really doesn’t seem like she’s older than me,” Ben-Gals captain Tara Wilson, says. “Her commitment to fitness, the self-respect she has, it’s really been a great role model for us. Vikmanis jokes that she is older than most of the players but not the coach. “He’s a little older than me,” she says.