06 March 2019 Blogs

10 Facts About Cheerleading

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Every year, National Cheerleading Week is celebrated in the first week of March. National Cheerleading Week was founded by Linda Lundy in 2005 to acknowledge the dedication and hard work of cheerleaders. March is also National Cheerleading Safety Month, an annual event intended to raise awareness about cheerleading safety. In honor of National Cheerleading Week and National Cheerleading Safety Month, here are some interesting facts about cheerleading you may not know.

The "Birth of Cheerleading"

On November 2, 1898, a University of Minnesota student, Johnny Campbell, directed fans at a football game to cheer for the Gophers. The cheer was "Rah, rah, rah! Ski-u-mah! Hoo-rah! Hoo-rah! Varsity! Varsity! Minn-e-so-tah!" Campbell is credited as being the “first true cheerleader.”

"Grandfather of Modern Cheerleading"

Lawrence R. Herkimer, also known as the "grandfather of modern cheerleading," founded the first cheerleading camp, patented the pompom, and created the Herkie jump, a move that is widely performed by cheerleading squads.

Famous Female Cheerleaders

During the 1940s and 1950s, cheerleading underwent a transition from being dominated by men to being dominated by women. Notable female cheerleaders include Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Madonna, and Meryl Streep.

U.S. Presidents Who Were Male Cheerleaders

There have also been well-known male cheerleaders, including four U.S. presidents: Franklin D. Roosevelt at Harvard, Dwight D. Eisenhower at West Point, Ronald Reagan at Eureka College,and George W. Bush at Yale University.

America's Sweethearts

The Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders were originally a co-ed squad. They became an all-female squad in 1970 and moved away from high school students toward glamorous women who were accomplished dancers. They exploded into a national phenomenon, were the inspiration behind a 1979 TV movie starring Jane Seymour, and made guest appearances on Family Feud and The Love Boat.

Competitive Cheerleading

ESPN began broadcasting the National High School Cheerleading Championship in 1983. Today, cheerleading competitions abound throughout the United States, with high school and college cheerleaders performing routines choreographed to music with cheers, jumps, and tumbling.

Popular Culture

The 2000 movie “Bring It On” depicted the world of competitive cheerleading. Kirsten Dunst and Eliza Dushku portrayed high school cheerleaders trying to win a national championship while wrestling with stolen routines.

Cheerleading Is Not a Sport

In 2010, U.S. District Judge Stefan Underhill ruled that cheerleading does not count as an official sport for universities trying to comply with Title IX, the federal law that mandates schools offer equal opportunities to men and women to participate in sports.

Could Cheerleading Become an Olympic Sport?

Competitive cheerleading was granted provisional recognition by the International Olympic Committee in December of 2016. That is the first step on the path to inclusion in the Summer Olympics.

Male Cheerleaders in the National Football League

On February 3, 2019, Quinton Peron and Napoleon Jinnies made history by becoming the first designated male cheerleaders to perform at the Super Bowl. Their Los Angeles Rams lost to the New England Patriots. In Super Bowl XLVII, the Ravens had what were referred to as stunt men. For more information on cheerleading, check out these related resources available through ProQuest eLibrary and ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher. Cheerleading Leading Issue Cheerleading Research Topic CheerSafe: Cheerleading Safety News & Resources