The story behind the leo: Nya Reed’s Delta Sigma Theta tribute (and floor routine)

By Karyssa D'Agostino | January 27, 2024
UCLA’s Nya Reed performs on floor in her custom Delta Sigma Theta leotard at the Meet the Bruins exhibition meet.
© Hritika Chaturvedi/UCLA Athletics

Every week this season, Gymnastics Now will be highlighting one NCAA team’s competition leotard and sharing the story behind the design and creation of the garment.

Nya Reed’s Delta Sigma Theta design

UCLA’s newest graduate athlete, Nya Reed, is here to let people know she’s more than just a gymnast by using her platform to spread awareness about the Divine Nine (D9) – the group made up of nine historically Black Greek-letter organizations, of which she is a member.

The story behind this leo is one of Reed’s commitment to grow the reach of the D9 and the National Pan-Hellenic Council. In an interview with ESPN, Reed said that, as a member of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority, she is hoping to promote the sisterhood and service she found outside of gymnastics while also using the leo she as a tribute to the sorority and what it means to her.

In a statement to Gymnastics Now, Reed shared the story behind the leo:

“My leotard embodies who I am and exemplifies me being more than an athlete,” Reed said. “My Leotard is one of one, and I wanted to do my due diligence as a member of a Black Greek-letter organization and use my platform to spread awareness of what D9 values and beliefs are.“ 

The gorgeous Sylvia P cream leotard (another conscious design choice) has Delta Sigma Theta’s Greek letters displayed in gold across the chest (the gold represents her new chapter as a UCLA Bruin), gems peppered throughout, and a couture high neckline.

The leo is just the cherry on top, as the main event is Reed’s floor routine that celebrates HBCUs and Black culture. She debuted the routine and leo at December’s Meet the Bruins exhibition meet and has since competed the set three times so far in the regular season, earning a 9.9 or higher each time. Reed’s routine has been watched millions of times, officially becoming the first viral routine of the 2024 NCAA gymnastics season. Since she has two career perfect 10s, both on floor during her Florida days, we wouldn’t be surprised to see another perfect mark flashed in 2024.

While the DST leo was a special tribute at Meet the Bruins, the floor routine is here to stay, and we can’t wait to see how the home crowd at Pauley Pavilion reacts to such an energetic and thoughtful piece of art.