Cole Shin and his friends workshopped the night before their Lone Peak High graduation night to have some fun while walking across the stage. Most of the ideas involved the boys flinging in the air either by their own hand or someone else’s.
None of Shin’s friends ended up doing anything like that when they walked on stage though — except him. Before he walked out in front of the large crowd at BYU, he started to feel the nerves of what he’d planned.
“I was shaking so much,” Shin, who played on the Knights soccer team, said. “I thought I was going to throw up.”
Shin took a few steps to the big red letters L and P and, all of a sudden, jumped in the air to attempt a backflip. He got less than halfway around before realizing he wasn’t going to land it.
“I didn’t know how to do a backflip at all,” Shin said. “I just decided to try it out.”
Shin turned his body in midair so he wouldn’t land directly on his back. His body thumped on the ground and left his shoulder tingling for the rest of the graduation ceremony. Several people recorded video of the moment and sent it him. He has four different angles of it, he said.
But one of Shin’s friends on the soccer team, Joaquin Mendez, decided to post his version of the video on TikTok. While on a church road trip from Missouri to Iowa, Shin received a text from Mendez saying the video had reached 500,000 views.
Later, Mendez texted Chin again saying ESPN was asking for permission to post the video on their social accounts. He also noticed Overtime posted it on Instagram.
Between Overtime’s post and Mendez’s TikTok, the video has more than 1 million views.
Shin said he doesn’t have much social media on his phone, so he found out about his almost-backflip going viral from others.
“It was just so random because I didn’t send it to (ESPN and Overtime),” Shin said.
In the video, when Shin walks onto the stage, another Lone Peak student’s name was called. He and lacrosse player Peyton Seegmiller switched names as a joke.
“I don’t think anyone who’s watched the video knows that Cole is actually my real name,” Shin said.
Shin is not in any way embarrassed about falling while attempting a backflip during graduation. He said it’s now a moment that he will and others will surely always remember.
“I just wanted a story to tell my kids,” he said.
And if doesn’t get around to telling them, his backflip that never was will live on forever on the internet.