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.

1940s -
By 1940, there were around 30,000 cheerleading teams in American high schools and colleges.

Organization -
In 1948, Lawrence Herkimer founded the National Cheerleaders Association in the US.

Association -
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.

1975 -
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.

Athletes -
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.

Click Here