Cheerleading is a pretty unique sport in that you can never find two of the same cheerleading squad. Even though each team differs, they have one thing in common: their love for this sport! Here are some fun facts about this complex sport.
1. Cheerleading was invented at Princeton University. Originally starting out as a male-only activity, cheerleading at the University had humble roots as their squad only consisted of three members back in 1897. Not only did that make them stand apart, but these men were meant to cheer on the opposing team as well as their home team!
2. The cheerleader pom poms were first invented by Lawrence ‘Herkie’ Herkimer in 1953. Even though paper cheer poms can be traced back to the 1930s, Herkie developed the first commercially produced pom pom through his Cheerleading Supply Company. Twelve years later in 1965 Fred Gastoff brought plastic pom poms into the world. Ever since, this staple cheerleader accessory has become one of the most recognized accessories from any sport. Cheerleader pom poms can vary. Depending on the team’s preferences, they could use metallic pom poms, smaller youth pom poms, or even custom cheer poms for those who want to be creative!
3. There are more than 4 million cheerleaders in the United States. Of that number, 400,000 are high school students. If that doesn’t convince you that cheerleading is popular, consider the fact that 80% of all high schools nationwide have a cheerleading team.
4. Cheerleaders are jacks of all trades. A full 62% of all cheerleaders participate in another sport while 12% are dancers.
5. Many U.S. presidents were cheerleaders including Dwight Eisenhower, George W. Bush, and Theodore Roosevelt.
6. NFL teams only started to bring cheerleading squads into their stadiums in the 1960s. However, cheerleading was not officially recognized until 1972 when the Dallas Cowboys brought their team aboard.
7. Women didn’t join the sport until the first world war when fewer men were participating in organized sports.
8. Of modern cheerleading participants, 97% are female.
9. Texas is the unofficial cheerleading capital of the United States.
10. The most common cheerleading injuries come as a result of the pyramid stunt, and these include broken arms, elbow injuries, and broken noses.
Have any other facts in mind? Comment below!