As TWER first reported last week, Auburn gymnast Rachel Inniss was booed by Alabama fans after striking her trademark Heisman pose during her floor routine at the recent Tuscaloosa NCAA Regional.
So… it worked.
“I was kind of expecting it, but that’s the kind of attention I wanted anyway,” says Inniss, a senior from Rio Rancho, New Mexico. “I wanted [the pose] to give me more attention than their gymnasts. I definitely heard it… and kind of fed off it.”
Inniss fed off it enough to stick the landing on her last pass immediately afterward and place 2nd in the event with a score of 9.900.
“The first time I did it in front of Alabama,” — the Tigers traveled to Tuscaloosa to take on the Tide in February — “I started laughing during the routine,” she says. “It got a bigger reaction than I was expecting and put a little more pressure on the last pass. I didn’t want to do the Heisman and then fall, so it gave me a little more motivation.
Inniss says the idea to incorporate the Heisman pose into her choreography came to her after deciding to perform her floor routine to an instrumental version of “All I Do Is Win;” the DJ Khaled hit served as Auburn football’s unofficial soundtrack last season.
“I always like to bring the crowd into my floor routine, and kind of as a joke I thought I could do the Heisman and it actually ended up being a real crowd-pleaser.”
Except in Tuscaloosa; in the video of her performance, boos are heard almost instantly.
Inniss says she thinks that some Alabama fans were waiting to take offense.
“I think some had been following some of the Auburn meets prior to that competition, and maybe had seen a couple of videos, and I had been ranked pretty high in the standings,” she says. “Some of the fans knew it was coming, but for the most part I don’t think anyone knew. I didn’t do it during warm-ups. My team wanted me to save it for the competition.”
Inniss says that, contrary to popular belief, the move isn’t intended as a gesture of affection to Auburn’s Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton.
“A lot of people have come up to me and asked if I’m related to Cam or something,” she says. “Or if I’m dating him.”
Is she dating him?
“No. Not at all. I think I met him one time in passing in study hall, but I really didn’t even know who he was then.”
She’ll get one more chance to impersonate Newton this weekend when No. 18 Auburn travels to Cleveland for the NCAA Championships.
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and then her team lost to Alabama. For the 103rd time in a row.