The governing authority for cheerleading says a decision denying a Canadian cheerleading team the win of a bronze medal at the Cheerleading and Dance World Championship in Orlando this past weekend is being reversed.
On Sunday, Power Cheer Toronto’s (PCT) level five co-ed team, ‘Temptation,’ hit the mat and vied for a chance to bring home a medal in the international open large co-ed division.
But instead, the athletes were set to come home empty-handed after the team said the international all-star cheerleading governing authority, the IASF, broke its own rules and regulations.
“We earned that third place spot and it is being taken away from us,” said PCT’s owner, Natalie Vonlanthen, explaining the issue began after semi-finals.
“Three teams from each country are allowed to advance. Canada had three spots, Australia had three and England had three. But the U.S. was given four slots.”
Vonlanthen told Global News there was a tie between two American teams during the semi-finals.
According to IASF rules, in that situation a tie-breaker must be enacted to “determine the set number moving into semi-finals/final and/or gold, silver and bronze places in finals.”
But Cheer Canada’s President, Jim Greenough, said that never took place.
“In this case, Cheer Canada believes the tie-breaking rule should have been invoked and used,” he said.
WATCH: Canadian all-star cheerleading team says it was ‘robbed’ of bronze medal. Jamie Mauracher reports.
Greenough and Vonlathen said the IASF’s director, Les Stella, made the executive call to allow the four U.S. teams to continue.
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One of those teams is Top Gun All-Stars, a household name in the competitive world of power cheerleading. In fact, the team holds the world title for the category. As the fourth American team put through to the finals, they ended up walking away with the gold medal. Canada got pushed to fourth place.
“Given what took place, we believe Top Gun and the other U.S. team should be co-champions, Australia should be getting silver, and we should have our bronze,” said Vonlanthen.
It’s a call that Cheer Canada backed up.
“We believe PCT should receive the bronze medal,” said Greenough, who penned a letter of concern to the IASF and spoke to Stella.
“He is committed to making sure that these kinds of things don’t occur in the future.”
In a letter to Vonlanthen, lawyer Jill Varnes Richardson agreed the regulations call for a tie-breaker in this case.
“Any other reading of this rule would require that the rule be expanded to have a set of parameters delineating when a larger group would be allowed to advance in a particular competition, which is not part of the rule provided,” she wrote.
Global News contacted Stella multiple times for comment on Thursday, but he didn’t return any of the requests.
However, Stella posted an update on the IASF Facebook page Friday afternoon — hours after publication of this Global News story — saying “a mistake was made in the application of its tie-break rules and procedures.”
He said Top Gun and CheerForce Nfinity will now sit as co-champions of the division, clearing the way for PCT to get the bronze medal.
“The IASF Worlds rules committee will be conducting a thorough review of the process and the error made so that the mistake may be avoided in the future,” Stella wrote.