Ozell Williams may be walking at this spring’s graduation ceremony, but he tumbled his way there.
The senior communication major—known around campus and on YouTube for his undeniable acrobatic talent—grew up in Chicago before making his way to Boulder.
He began doing flips on his mother’s couch and on old mattresses left in alleys, which led him into some trouble but also helped him meet a mentor, referred to by Williams as Ms. Jackson. She pushed him to take tumbling seriously, which inspired Williams to use his tumbling abilities to push himself in a positive direction while working to inspire and encourage others in the community.
Williams made his way to CU Boulder in 2010, and his tumbling became a highlight for fans at basketball and football games. The following year, he founded Mile High Tumblers 5280, where he coaches young athletes while offering mentorship programs and opportunities for kids from low-income families.
At the same time, Williams pursued a bachelor’s degree in communication. The skills he learned as a communication major helped him in his professional pursuit to spread a positive message for young athletes, as well as in his everyday life, he said.
During his time at CU, Williams amassed a long list of achievements, both as an athlete, a student and a community member.
"I’ve been travelin’ doing stuff with the Nuggets, being a part of the amazing spirit program here," he said. "I’ve been on America’s Got Talent since I’ve been here, as well as I broke the record for the most number of back handsprings, so I’m a Guinness Book of World Record holder."
After graduation, Williams will continue his mission to help young athletes at Mile High Tumblers 5280, while also taking on a new role as the head cheer coach at East High School in Denver. He hopes to leave behind a legacy at CU that will inspire future students and athletes and show them dedication is key in achieving what you're passionate about.
"I wanted to be able to do something and leave a mark," he said.