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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Origin of the Griddy Dance, seen by Pulisic in Champions League

Chelsea's US star Christian Pulisic made his presence felt in Europe by scoring against Lille and celebrated with a popular dance routine. We explore why.

Update:
Origin of the Griddy Dance, seen by Pulisic in Champions League
JUSTIN TALLISAFP

Once again, Christian Pulisic has come up big for Chelsea. On Tuesday, the USMNT star scored the Blues' second goal against Lille in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie.

The winger - known by some as ‘Captain America' - scored in the 63rd minute, his first goal of this Champions League season. In addition to the goal, though, Pulisic surprised everyone with his unusual celebration: something those in the know refer to as the Griddy Dance. Video clips of the celebration at Stamford Bridge even went viral on social media.

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The origins of the Griddy Dance

All us sports fans know that a goal, touchdown, home run or other sporting glory moment needs a celebration, it’s a fundamental part of any sport. Although there are occasions when participants decide to tone down their joy, possibly if facing a previous team, more often it is the moment to release all the adrenaline and tension that has built up. There are also occasions where a player will invent a celebration, or potentially copy one from popular culture, video games or from other sport stars. In the case of the Griddy Dance, this was not a new invention by Pulisic, but has its origins in the National Football League and college football.

In 2020, Justin Jefferson, Ja'Marr Chase, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Adam Thielen, Kirk Cousins and other NFL players began celebrating with the Griddy Dance after reaching the end zone for six points. However, the origin of the dance actually comes from college football.

Griddy roots

As far as our research goes, the dance was originally invented by Louisiana's Allen Davis, a friend of former LSU wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, who wanted to create his own dance after being inspired by the Nae Nae that became famous in the mid-2010s.

Once Chase arrived at LSU, he introduced the dance to teammate Justin Jefferson, and the pair showed it off to the rest of the LSU locker room. Jefferson, a Vikings wide receiver, took the dance onto a national stage during his sophomore season in a showdown against Texas. After his first TD, Jefferson let rip.

So, despite it originating at LSU, in just a few years, the Griddy Dance has conquered the NFL, the computer game Fortnite and now, in elite level soccer at UEFA’s Champions League.

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