When you look at the life of Addison Manus, all you seem to see is a life filled with success.
You can walk into the halls of Winder Barrow High School in Winder, Georgia, and there on the wall of the school’s gymnasium you will see a picture of Manusin her cheerleader uniform with an inscription under her picture that says “All-American.”
Head south to Valdosta State University, and there in the PE Complex you are sure to find a tribute to the university’s multi-national champion competitive cheer program. When you locate the team picture of the 2013 national championship cheer squad, you will see Manus once again. She was a member of the team that attended the NCAA National Championship Competitive Cheer Competition in Daytona Beach, Florida, and won it all. She was a member of the competitive cheer squad for two seasons, attending VSU from 2013 to 2014.
After spending her two years in school at Valdosta State University, Manus moved to the Atlanta area, where she continued her education, enrolling at Georgia Gwinnett College. She received her bachelor of science in psychology.
While in Atlanta, Manus became interested in body building, and the achievements continued. She blossomed in the figure portion of body building. Over a three-year period, she attended and won numerous competitions, beginning in 2014 when she captured first place in Open Figure Competition. Then again in 2015 and 2016, she won first place in consecutive Open Figure Competitions.
After actively competing in body building, Manus took dance beginning in 2018, incorporating her dance skills from competitive cheer. During her figure body building competition, she noticed one area that really intrigued her.
“I saw that pole fitness was held at one of the biggest events in body building, The Arnolds Sports Festival,” she said.
The festival is named after world famous body builder and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“It’s a combination of everything I had done and liked: fitness, strength, endurance, dance, tumbling. It is so graceful,” Manus said.
So, in 2019, she began pole competition. Like everything else to that point, Manus once again mastered a competition in an event that she just learned how to do. She won first place in the 2019 Novice Pole Fitness Classic and took third place in the pro level. Then, earlier this year, riding the wave of her momentum of achievements, Manus was scheduled to compete in the 2020 Arnolds Sports Festival in Columbus, Ohio, in the pole competition division. But, like so many other events worldwide, the event was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. Manus was disappointed.
“I was so bummed that I had made an incredible pole routine and it was cancelled,” she said. “I actually received the email from the pole event coordinator two days before my flight was scheduled to take off for Ohio.”
But, her hard work and preparation would not be wasted. Manus was able to attend and participate in a pole competition close to her home in the Atlanta area. It was the Pole Dance America Championship, held on March 14. Like so many competitions to that point, Manus dominated the competition, winning top prize in the pole dance competition, as well as winning the Ms. Fitness Superlative Award.
Looking at Manus’s lifetime of success and achievements, one may not realize the struggle she actually went through as a child. Manus actually grew up as a foster child, the daughter of an abusive mother. She spent most of her childhood in five foster homes, never being interested in any type of sports or activities at all. It wasn’t until she was with her fifth foster family that she finally found a home, a real home, with a family that loved her and decided that they wanted to adopt her. That family was Chris and Misty Manus, and those are the parents who gave Manus the love, support, and permanent home she needed.
“I took their last name,” Manus said.
They also provided Manus with the encouragement to try sports.
“I was a sophomore in high school when I finally became involved in any sports-related activity,” Manus said. “My parents suggested that I should become involved in some type of sport. They told me to try something that I liked, so I tried cheerleading, and I loved it.”
In her very first year of organized sport of any kind, Addison Manus excelled, and that lifetime of excellence continues. Today, Manus works as a personal trainer and is affiliated with Elite Edge Training Center in Atlanta, where she helps her clients become more physically fit. She received her personal trainer certification in April 2019 from the American Council on Exercise. She also works with Grady Health Care, where she is a child care assistant for children with infectious diseases.
Written by: Phil Jones | Photography courtesy of Addison Manus