Cheerleading began as a way to rally support for college sporting teams, but today it is a sport in its own right. It requires a high level of fitness, coordination and rhythm. Some of the moves used in cheerleading are taking from gymnastics and modern dance, but there are many manoeuvres that are unique to the sport. There are now many cheerleading competitions and championships, which are the highest honor for any cheerleading squad. Have you ever wondered who invented cheerleading? Read on to find out.
Who Invented cheerleading
It was the University of Minnesota football coach, Thomas Peebles, who introduced organized cheering at football games in 1883. However, he is not credited with the invention. In 1898 when University of Minnesota student Johnny Campbell lead the crowd in cheering and he is officially recognized as the first cheerleader. This led to the creation of a “yell leader” squad of 6 male students who were using the same cheer used by Johnny Campbell. This was when modern cheerleading was born.
Interesting facts about cheerleading
- Cheerleading was an all-male activity for the first 25 years. The first female cheerleaders started in 1923 and introduced the tumbling and gymnastics moves we recognize today. It was also at this time that megaphones were used to lead the cheers.
- Cheerleading is considered a dangerous sport. About 65-67% of female athlete injuries at high school and college level are attributed to cheerleading. Amazingly, 22,900 minors were admitted to hospital for cheerleading related accidents in 2002. Some high profile accidents have led to safety rules being introduced.
- Cheerleading now features in a number of video games for the Nintendo Wii and DS.
- The first NFL team to have cheerleaders were the Baltimore Colts in 1954.
- The first NBA team to have a cheerleading squad was the LA Lakers. They were called the “Laker Girls.”