Cheerleading has exploded across the globe over the past couple of years. So much so that it has officially become an Olympic sport! With the rising popularity of this sport, it only makes sense that you should know a little bit more about it. Here are ten things that you may not know about cheerleading.
1. Goes Back To 1860
Cheerleading was started by male students in Great Britain in the 1860s. It made its way to America in the 1880s. Male students organized “cheers” to help their struggling football team.
2. Women Joined In 1920
Women didn’t become engaged with the sport until the 1920s. This is interesting since now the sport is female-dominated. However, over the years more males have been getting involved in the sport.
3. Lawrence “Herkie” Herkimer
Lawrence “Herkie” Herkimer is deemed the grandfather of cheerleading. He is the one that started the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA). This association still exists and is one of two major cheer governing bodies. Herkie also patented the pompom that almost all cheerleaders use on game day and in competitions.
4. NCA and UCA
The two largest college cheer associations are called NCA and UCA. Most colleges across the country compete in one of these two. Each association has its own rules and skill focus. UCA focuses more on stunts and pyramids, while NCA has more overall focus, including jumps, advanced tumbling, and a dance section.
5. Cheer Injuries
The number of cheerleading-related injuries has gone down over the years due to more rules being enforced surrounding what skills cheerleaders are allowed to compete.
6. Kids Start at 2
Cheerleading has an age range from 2+. Children can start tumbling classes as soon as two years old! Competitive cheerleading also has “Open” cheer categories that do not have an age limit. As long as you can do the skills, you can compete.
Cheerleading is a sport that prides itself in being inclusive and diverse. It is a sport where all individuals can find a place and have a role to play no matter what their gender, race, sexual orientation, skill level, etc.
8. Beyond Gameday
Cheer goes beyond what you see at gameday on the sidelines. There is so much more than doing cheers and waving pompoms. Cheerleaders are dedicated athletes that spend hours practicing and perfecting tumbling and stunting skills for competition that you may never see on the sidelines.
Cheer offers club, school, national, world, and professional teams. There is a level for everyone, and there is so much room to grow in
Cheerleading just got approved as an Olympic sport and should be debuting in the 2028 LA Olympic Games.
There’s so much more to the sport of cheerleading than meets the eye. Hopefully, these 10 facts have helped you learn a little bit more!