Kriste Lewis, 40-Year-Old Mother of Two, Makes New Orleans Saints Cheerleading Squad

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For Kriste Lewis, 40 is the new 30 ... or 20. The dance instructor and mother of two has made the cheerleading squad for the NFL's New Orleans Saints!

You could say she's a Saintsation! (You'd be right, the squad is called that.)

Kriste Lewis Photo

Faced with competition from women half her age, Lewis tried out to prove to herself she could do it, but never thought she'd make the team.

The fact that she did came as a shock to herself and many others.

"I wanted to set a goal for myself, and the audition was a specific date that required specific training, so my goal was just to make it to the audition," said Lewis.

"Honestly, I really did not think I was going to make it."

Lewis, one of only two NFL cheerleaders in her 40s, was the oldest to ever audition for the Saintsations, said Lesslee Fitzmorris, their director.

The first was Laura Vikmanis, 45, who has been with the Cincinnati Bengals dance team, the Ben-Gals, since also making the squad at 40.

Lewis' age was mostly a non-factor in the team's decision to bring her on, in part because it wasn't known to the powers that be. Fitzmorris recalls:

"The applications hadn't been processed when the dance auditions started, so the judges didn't even know Kriste was 40 until she had made it through three rounds."

She ultimately revealed her age in the interview round, and got the nod.

Lewis says kidney disease, which will eventually lead to dialysis treatments and the need for a transplant, also sparked her interest in trying out.

"I know my time is limited," Lewis said, adding that her doctor had to sign off on the tryout. "I don't want to let any time go. I want to make every day count."

Kriste will make her official debut with the Saintsations next month.

"I can't wait to get on that field," she said. "Just being able to put a cheerleading uniform back on and go at it for my favorite team is unbelievable to me."

Let's hear it for Kriste for proving that you're only as old as you feel.

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