Something To Cheer About

CHEERSPORT Nationals  2021 In Atlanta
10,000 participants...just under 800 competing  teams spectators… 72+ and safety protocols.....It all came together for the successful run of the 2021 CHEERSPORT National Cheerleading Championship at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.   

From pre-event reservations to onsite hotel support to giveaways creating a fun, welcoming environment for the athletes, the Connections team was proud to work with the CHEERSPORT team as we continue to return to live events. CHEERSPORT is a Varsity All Star event producer, part of the Varsity Spirit family out of Memphis, TN.

We had the chance to talk to Kelley Thorp, National Director of Stay Smart for Varsity All Star, about the incredible undertaking and the extensive planning, communication and behind-the-scenes organizing that she and the CHEERSPORT team put into hosting this successful event.

What was the biggest challenge in hosting the live Cheersport Nationals in Atlanta? 

Athlete safety continues to be our top priority and Varsity Spirit offers a variety of in-person and virtual events to meet the needs of each team. With respect to CHEERSPORT, even with many modifications to the competition format and new safety protocols in place, athletes were still able to compete and have a fulfilling experience with their teammates and families in Atlanta. These modifications included event capacity restrictions, social distancing, and a team/spectator rotation format to create an environment where crossing paths with others from outside organizations was minimal. 

How did Varsity go about setting its safety standards and protocols for the event?

Since the onset of the pandemic, Varsity Spirit has diligently monitored the Coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak and closely adhered to official information from health authorities, the CDC and others as it relates to our larger community and our events, camps and competitions. We are also taking proactive, preventative measures for all of our employees.  

A highly detailed communication strategy was integral to your success – especially in regard to the new and unique details you had to disseminate to your audiences.  How did you do it? 

Our correspondence to coaches and gym owners (link here) provided detail across key categories: Coaches Check In, Coaches & Team Information, Spectator Ticketing, Spectator Viewing, Concessions & Merchandise, Awards, as well as Varsity's safety standards (link here). These measures were reviewed carefully and approved by all parties involved, including our health & safety team and the Georgia World Congress Center. 

How did the event venue - Georgia World Congress Center – contribute to your overall safety messaging and event plan?

For its part, the Georgia World Congress Center  has a comprehensive safety and operational plan designed to meet the health and safety challenges presented by COVID-19, and one that aligns with Gov. Kemp’s executive order for conventions. 

To learn more about Varsity Spirit, including its mission, competitions, and philanthropic efforts, visit 


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