Much to the relief of dance teams at other universities, the Cougarettes opted out of national competition in 2002, choosing instead to perform in front of an international audience at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. Beginning in early November 2002, the dancers went through several weeks of three and four-hour practice sessions to get ready for the Games where they performed at almost every major venue indoors and out. Despite their hectic schedule in the weeks before and during the Olympics, national competition organizers were still asking the Cougarettes to reconsider.
"The directors wanted us there but told us that we had made a lot of teams very happy by not attending the national tournament," said Jodi Maxfield, a former Cougarette who now works as artistic director.
Established in 1946, the Cougarettes became a part of BYU's athletic tradition in 2000 when they began working with the cheer squad at football and basketball games to enhance the overall game-day experience at BYU. Each year, more than 100 girls try out for this elite team of entertainers. Once the team has been pared down to around 16 dancers, the Cougarettes tackle a rigorous practice regimen that includes strength and flexibility training to prepare them for their performances at games, concerts and other special presentations, as well as choreographing their routines.
An exciting and talented part of the pageantry that surrounds BYU's athletic success, the Cougarettes have reached an unprecedented level of achievement in their own field and have taken their talents to the playing field for the Cougars.