The evolution of cheerleading
Princeton Cheer -
The first documented organized cheer dates back to 1877, at Princeton University.
The original cheerleader -
In 1898, University of Minnesota student Johnny Campbell picked up a megaphone during a football game and started engaging the crowd.
Male cheerleaders -
In the beginning, all cheerleaders were male. Here are Maryland cheerleaders performing a routine in 1937.
Male cheerleaders -
Some famous men were actually cheerleaders, including former US Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and George W. Bush.
Women started cheering -
In 1923, women were finally allowed to cheer. Here's a picture of Springfield High School cheerleaders in 1941.
By 1940, there were around 30,000 cheerleading teams in American high schools and colleges.
In 1948, Lawrence Herkimer founded the National Cheerleaders Association in the US.
The first cheerleading team in the NFL was established in 1954 to cheer the Baltimore Colts.
They started younger -
By 1967, children as young as four years old were starting to train to become cheerleaders.
Human rights movement -
In 1967, only one African-American cheerleader was picked for a high school's varsity team.
It kept growing -
Cheerleading didn't stop growing. By the 1970s, there were 11 NFL teams with cheerleaders.
It's estimated that in 1975 about 500,000 people were cheerleading in the US.
Dallas Cowboys -
In the '70s, the Dallas Cowboys revolutionized the direction of cheerleading. Slightly older women were brought in and they started showing more skin.
They were a hit -
The (sexier) Cowboys Cheerleaders became a hit. They were even asked by the US government to do a global tour and cheer for soldiers.
In 1974, Jeff Webb founded the Universal Cheerleaders Association. Cheerleading became more athletic at the time.
The stunts and athleticism required for the choreography elevated cheerleaders' status to that of athletes.
First world championship -
The first world cheerleading championships finally happened in 2004.
Pop culture -
Shows such as the 2020 Netflix docuseries 'Cheer' contribute to the popularization of cheerleading around the world.