When These Cheerleaders Lifted Four Teens Up Into The Air, The Crowd Were Stunned By What They Saw
Several videos have gone viral online, but this video of a cheerleading squad from Columbus High School in Georgia had something that made it stand out. It showcases some of the highest-quality cheerleading. Cheerleading has only been in place for over a hundred years. Cheerleading has come a very long way and is still growing and developing. The cheers and jumps vary, but cheerleading squads all unite under the same common heritage.
Cheerleading Is Often Dismissed As Merely A Hobby, Not A Sport
Many consider cheerleading a hobby, but it is much more than that. This group of cheerleaders from Georgia proved that it's a sport when they performed with energy, extreme strength, and impressive coordination.
The video shows a large group of cheerleaders performing an incredible routine at a state championship. The video of their performance has been circulating the internet for a while.
Group Of Cheerleaders From Georgia
The cheerleading squad in the video is from Columbus High School in Columbus, Georgia. The cheerleaders are dressed proudly in their school colors, blue and orange.
They do not just perform a regular routine, they perform an amazing routine. They are performing at the Georgia High School Association state championships. They begin their routine, standing in tight formation and ready to impress.
The Cheerleaders Burst Into Action
The music starts, and the cheerleaders immediately start performing. Right from the beginning, they are performing backflips across the stage and throwing each other high into the air. Once in the air, the girls twist and turn right back into their teammates' arms.
Everyone can see right from the start that this isn't just any old performance. Several of the cheerleaders can be seen doing three backflips in a row, and then the group crouches their backs parallel to the floor while two girls run across their backs.
Then The Music Changes
All of a sudden, the music changes, and you can hear "Doo Wah Diddy Diddy." It then changes again to a new song as the cheerleaders form four separate groups. A few seconds later, each group of four had one member lifted high above their heads.
Next, each of the girls in the air reaches back, grabs one foot, and holds the difficult pose for a couple of seconds. They show amazing core strength and balance. The four all tumble through the air and are then caught by their teammates.
The 16-Strong Troupe Does Something Truly Impressive
The sixteen cheerleaders continue with more flips and rotations before forming three lines. Using an impressive amount of energy, they all jump into the air at the same time in the splits.
They do that three times in a row and then finish with backflips. The group shows how talented they are by doing all of that in perfect unison. Next, they split up and head to the corners of the mat and burst into a series of flips.
A Sassy And Fun Dance Routine
The cheerleaders meet in the middle of the floor and move into more of a dance routine. They perform a sassy and fun dance and then start building up to the amazing finale.
They lift four teammates into the air while they show their skills of landing on a different foot each time. They keep four cheerleaders suspended above their heads while a fifth member jumps onto a teammate's shoulders in the middle of the formation.
They Nailed It
Their amazing routine ends with all five of the elevated cheerleaders striking a pose. It is an impressive ending to a great routine. When the music stopped, the girls couldn't contain their excitement.
They started screaming and jumping in the air because they knew that they had nailed it. They did nail it because they became the winners of the GHSA state championships that year.
Video Of The Routine Went Viral
There are many cheerleading videos online, but this one of the Georgia cheerleaders went viral. It has an amazing twelve million views and thousands of comments from people who were blown away by their skills.
Most of the comments were about how they couldn't believe how perfectly executed the routine was. Many also questioned how the cheerleaders had enough energy to finish so strongly.
Men Started Cheerleading
Cheerleading got its start in the U.S. in 1884 when the male pep club at Princeton started cheering for their football players. The sport dates back to the 1860s in Great Britain, and the first cheerleaders were Thomas Peebles and Johnny Campbell.
It was a male-dominated field, and the first cheerleading fraternity, Gamma Sigma, was all male. However, they were called 'yell leaders' at the time and they led cheers from the sidelines to encourage the spectators and to serve as a form of crowd control. Women didn't start to join cheerleading until roughly forty years later.
Four Presidents Were Cheerleaders
Four U.S. Presidents were cheerleaders during their college years. The four included Dwight D. Eisenhower (West Point), Franklin D. Roosevelt (Harvard College), George W. Bush (Phillips Academy), and Ronald Reagan (Eureka College).
They were former cheerleaders at their colleges and then worked their way up to the White House. Their cheering years spanned from the 1900s to the 1960s.
Pom-Poms Were Actually A Decoration
Cheerleading sometimes involves pom-poms, but not always. Sideline cheering is when you will see pom-poms more often. Initially, they were used as decorations for cheerleaders and were typically made of paper.
In 1953, actual pom-poms were created and manufactured with a hidden handle by Lawrence Herkimer. In 1965, the pom-pom design was improved by Fred Gastoff.
National Cheerleaders Association
In 1948, Lawrence Herkimer founded the National Cheerleaders Association, or NCA. The organization still holds its vision of creating an atmosphere to cultivate the whole cheerleader.
"We embrace our rich heritage as the first cheerleading company and continue to pioneer the way with innovative camp curriculum, industry-leading championships, and events that require the hard-working, well-rounded cheerleaders in America today!"
First Women Cheerleaders
Women were allowed to be on cheerleading teams, but yell leaders were mostly male up until World War II. However, men were sent off to war, and women filled the role on the sidelines. Cheerleading remained a female activity even after the war ended.
In 1923, the University of Minnesota started allowing women to join their cheerleading squad, but it wasn't until the 1940s that other schools started allowing women on their squads.
NFL Without Cheerleaders
It's hard to imagine watching professional football and not seeing the cheerleaders on the sidelines. It wasn't until the 1960s that the NFL had cheerleaders. The first official NFL cheerleading squad was the Baltimore Colts.
However, it wasn't until the early 1970s that cheerleading in the NFL really took off. It was when the Dallas Cowboys introduced more choreographed dance routines.
Sadly, when some people think about cheerleading, they think about murder and attempted murder. Especially when they think of Texas cheerleading because there was a mother in Texas who hired a hitman to kill a rival cheerleader's mom just because she wanted her daughter on the squad.
Thankfully, she didn't succeed and was arrested, convicted, and sentenced to fourteen years in prison. Her trial was overturned, and after the second trial, she was sentenced to ten years. Wanda Holloway was known as "the pom-pom mom."
The Most Dangerous Girl Sport
Most don't know that cheerleading is considered the most dangerous sport for girls, as it accounts for roughly sixty-six percent of all injuries. It comes with a high risk for concussions and catastrophic injuries, which can result in long-term medical conditions, permanent disabilities, or a shorter lifespan.
It tends to be dangerous partially because many athletes try to progress too fast before they are ready. A cheerleader needs to have a good technical foundation to prevent future injuries.
Men In NFL Cheerleading
NFL cheerleading had men join the squad of the Los Angeles Rams in 2018. The men are classically trained dancers and were the first males to join cheerleading in the NFL. Those men were Quinton Peron and Napoleon Jinnies. Peron stated, "I thought, 'Why not me? Why can't I do this?' And called my friend, and I asked her when auditions were for the Rams, and she told me Sunday, March 11, and I showed up."
The men were among the seventy-six finalists who auditioned for the Rams. Jinnies said, "They were unlike anything I've ever been to. I'm used to getting a call after or an email. This one was about three weeks long, and we had a bunch of rehearsals in between and an extensive interview process, but it was really humbling and amazing to be invited every time you came back."
Competitive cheer teams didn't really take off until the 1980s. The teams focus on gymnastic stunts and dancing, but it is heavily regulated. The Collegiate Cheerleading Championships were broadcast on television for the first time in 1978.
The tumbling and stunts also became more advanced. As a result, the sport has gained popularity and has attracted the attention of prospective athletes.
Cheerleading Without Routines
Cheerleading did begin in the late 1800s, but it wasn't until 1975 that actual cheerleading routines became a thing. The first recorded actual routine was at the Universal Cheerleaders Association College Spirit Camp.
The cheerleading skills demonstration was accompanied by music. As time passed, cheerleading routines became more difficult, extensive, and entertaining.
The Many Faces Of Cheerleading
A large part of cheerleading is the facials from the cheerleaders. The activity transformed into a competitive sport with more than three million cheerleaders nationwide. Cheerleading is found in all different sports, both professional and non-professional.
It is also now a competitive sport at the national level. They don't just do cheers and routines, they also complete stunts. All the while they are performing physically, they are also performing with their faces.
Much of the world doesn't realize that the training required for competitive cheerleading is as tough as any other competitive sport. Most teams train seven days a week and for multiple hours every day.
Most college teams do strength training three times a week, and then they meet four evenings a week for three hours to practice the actual tumbling and stunts. Each squad will have its own training schedule, but they all have intense training.
Some cheerleading groups are created strictly for competition and aren't associated with any school or team. Those teams are All-Star cheerleading squads.
The United States All-Star Federation is the organization that governs cheerleading competitions. In addition, the organization sets up regulations regarding safety and competition and dictates rules of conduct.
There are all different age levels in cheerleading, and competitive cheerleading is divided into groups according to age. Each group has different levels, depending on experience. Some of the rules are that a minimum of five members per squad are required, and the maximum is either twenty-four or thirty-six.
The divisions include Tiny Cheer, Mini Cheer, Youth Cheer, Junior Cheer, and Senior Cheer. Also, most groups have divisions for male and female cheerleaders, and the youngest group, Tiny Cheer, is for cheerleaders five years or younger.
The status of cheerleading is still not where it should be because, as of 2013, competitive cheerleading is not considered an official sport. Many have pushed for cheerleading to be recognized for years.
However, in order for it to be considered a championship sport, it has to be recognized by the NCAA. Thankfully, some strides have been made with some universities, with cheerleading squads now offering scholarships to cheerleaders.
First Known Organized Cheers
The first known organized cheers that we now know as cheerleading took place at Ivy League college sporting events in the 1860s. The first known 'cheer' was shouted from the crowd at Princeton University in 1884.
It goes: "Ray, Ray, Ray! Tiger, Tiger, Tiger! Sis, Sis, Sis! Boom, Boom, Boom, Aaaaah! Princeton, Princeton, Princeton!" In 1882, Princeton University graduate, Thomas Peebles, brought the idea to Minnesota.
The First Cheerleader
Until 1898, cheers and chants were heard just from the crowd, but it wasn't always in unison. The first cheerleader was Johnny Campbell, a student at the University of Minnesota. He got up from his seat and went out on the field to lead the group of students in a chant.
He chanted: "Rah, Rah, Rah! Ski-u-mah, Hoo-Rah! Hoo-Rah! Varsity! Varsity! Varsity, Minn-e-So-Tah!" After he jumped over the fence and chanted, cheerleading was born.
Cheerleading Has Grown
Other students joined Johnny on the field, and the idea spread across college campuses. Cheerleading grew over the years, and elements such as megaphones, arm motions, signs, poms, basic jumps, tumbling, and stunts were added.
In the 1920s, cheerleading became a formal extracurricular activity for boys in high schools, colleges, and communities all over the country.
1949 - Cheerleading Educational Clinic
The first cheer training camp was opened in 1949, and fifty-two college cheerleaders attended. In the following years, whole squads attended the camp. It turned into a highly competitive and intense training camp.
Herkimer believed squad spirit deserved to be emphasized in all instances, and he considered it far more important than the routines he taught. He also believed that cheerleaders could perform better if they trained outside of the school year.
The Early 1970s Saw The Passage Of Title IX
The popularity of cheerleading grew, and jumps, tumbling, stunts, and pyramids began evolving into feats of athletic ability. In the early 1970s, Title IX was passed and prohibited federally-funded educational institutions from discriminating against a student based on sex.
It was after Title IX passed that high schools and colleges started adding female sports to their athletic departments. Cheerleaders who participated in other athletics became stronger and more agile, which they brought back to cheerleading.
Expanding Beyond The Sidelines
There started to be a demand for more opportunities for cheer, with more and more cheerleaders trying out for the team. However, school programs were limited to the number of athletes they allowed. In the 1980s, competitive cheer squads were formed to allow more students to cheer.
All-Star cheer competitions were part of the existing school competitions at first, but eventually, the U.S. All-Star Federation was created. All-Star Cheer has more than one hundred and fifty thousand participants.
USASF Was Formed In 2003
The U.S. All-Star Federation, or USASF, was formed in 2003 and developed training programs and rules for the various levels of All-Star. Then in 2007, USA Cheer was created with the mission to promote safety and safety education for cheer in the United States.
Serious injuries decreased as safety education, and awareness grew, and today, it is consistently in the lower quarter of injury rates in high school sports. In 2018, USA Cheer brought the AACCA (American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators) under its governance.
Cheerleading Goes International
Television broadcasts like the cheerleading championships seen on ESPN reached across the globe, and as a result, interest in cheerleading grew abroad. It grew so quickly that the International Cheer Union was formed in order to provide a global governing body for cheer.
Its mission is to promote safety, help grow and develop interest and participation in cheer throughout the United States, and represent the U.S. in international cheer competitions. The ICU was granted full recognition status in 2021 by the International Olympic Committee.
STUNT Was Developed To Provide Additional Opportunities To Participate In Cheer
A new discipline of cheer was developed in 2011 called STUNT, and it provides additional opportunities to participate in cheer. STUNT removed the support role from traditional cheerleading and created a new competitive format.
A STUNT game would consist of just two teams competing in a head-to-head and a four-quarter format. It is one of the fastest-growing female sports in the world and is quickly becoming a collegiate varsity and club sport at more than fifty institutions. STUNT is currently in the process of being granted emerging sport status by the NCAA.
The University Of Minnesota Formed Squads Of Cheerleaders
The University of Minnesota was the first college to form cheer squads to develop original chants and songs. Not long after, they founded the first Cheer Fraternity, Gamma Sigma, which consisted of only males.
Females were added in 1923. The first cheerleader, Johnny Campbell, attended the University of Minnesota. They influenced other schools to form their own cheerleading teams, which quickly spread around the country.
Lawrence Herkimer, also called Herkie, was an innovator in the field of cheerleading. He is responsible for opening the first cheer clinic, creating the Herkie cheerleading jump, and patenting the pom-pom. The Herkie was created by accident while intending to do a split jump.
The move is one arm straight in the air, the other arm at the hip, one leg extended straight out, and the other bent back. In addition, he created a cheerleading magazine called Megaphone.
In 2004, CheerMusicPro was born, which makes hard-hitting, custom mixes for cheer programs. The man responsible for CheerMusicPro is Patrick Avard. He stated, "I got involved with my school team and was drawn to the excitement and athletic appreciation of the sport. As anyone in cheer can understand, there's nothing quite like executing flawless routines and stunts with a talented squad. I continued to be active in cheer into my college years at Florida Atlantic University, where I also picked up an interest in music and music production. After learning how to produce original music and beats, it wasn't long before I combined my two passions."
"I have since worked full-time as a professional music producer, using my first-hand experience of cheerleading to make hard-hitting, custom mixes for cheer programs. Over the years, I have been proud to work with countless top-level teams in the sport. CheerMusicPro tracks have been used by 168 teams to medal in World Championships, and more than 65 teams have earned gold medals. It has been an incredibly rewarding and humbling experience that I am thankful for every day."
Top University Cheerleading Varsity Team - Kentucky University Cats
Top University Cheerleading Varsity Team, the University of Kentucky Wildcats are regular winners of the A1 division of UCA and were founded in 1905. They consist of incredible athletes and brilliant representatives of the 'vintage' UCA Varsity style.
The team has consistently been at the top since the early years of competitive cheer. There is no other team that has won as many national championships as the University of Kentucky cheerleading squad.
Top East Coast Senior All-Star Cheerleading Team - Cheer Extreme Senior Elite
The Top East Coast Senior All-Star Cheerleading Team is Cheer Extreme Senior Elite, a world team that competes in the Senior Large All-Girl division. The team is a three-time World Champion team and is among the most well-known teams in cheerleading.
The team is known for its consistency, high-energy performances, and cleanly executed simple stunts. They have also always been leaders when it comes to cheer fashion.
In 1954, The Baltimore Colts Established The First Cheerleading Team In The NFL
The Baltimore Colts established the first cheerleading team in the NFL in 1954. The cheerleaders wore letter sweaters, bobby socks, and homemade pom-poms, and they were paid nothing. Most of the NFL cheerleaders have either completed or are attending a university, and cheering is just a part-time job.
The cheerleaders participate in practice, training camp, games, photo shoots, charity events, and other appearances. Their main responsibility is marketing the team they cheer for.
Bill Horan, a World War II veteran, former paratrooper, and cheerleading coach, ran cheerleading clinics at universities across the country during the 1960s. He is known for having run his school like a Marine boot camp, and it cost attendees forty-five dollars a week to attend.
They run a mile before breakfast, go through standing inspections, and learn to say Sir and Ma'am while they are taught school yells. Horan forbids gum, soft drinks, and smoking, and he would often hold back the mail call until the end of the day. He told LIFE in 1965, "At this school, we separate the jellyfish from the real troopers."
Race In Cheerleading Was Another Problem
Another problem in cheerleading was race, which was a problem during those years. In 1967, thirteen hundred Black students protested in Illinois when only one African American cheerleader was picked for a high school's varsity team.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, schools all over America failed to integrate cheer squads and Black athletes in general across sports teams. It had nothing to do with their talent or abilities but with the color of their skin.
Jeff Webb Established The Universal Cheerleaders Association
Jeff Webb is the founder of the Universal Cheerleading Association and Varsity Spirit. He attended the University of Oklahoma, where he was a yell leader for the school's cheer squad.
He is credited with modernizing cheerleading by making it more competitive, bringing it to the mainstream audience with partnerships with ESPN, creating new outfit designs, and favoring more acrobatics and athleticism. He was also a leader who pushed for international recognition, along with adding it as an Olympic sport.
In 1979, The NBA Brought In Cheerleading
Dr. Jerry Buss bought the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team in 1979 and decided he wanted to add more entertainment to NBA games. He was the first to add cheerleading to the NBA. He commissioned the Laker Girls as a part of the "Showtime" zest.
He recruited only the best of the best, including Paula Abdul. Hundreds of women audition in hopes of capturing one of the twenty-two spots, but ninety percent of them won't make it.
The Film Bring It On Catapulted Cheerleading Into The Mainstream
The film Bring It On was released in 2000 and stars Kirsten Dunst and Gabrielle Union. Dunst plays a high school cheerleading captain who inherits a team with routines stolen from a rival group of cheerleaders.
However, the movie was more than just teens jumping around, as it tackled serious issues about race, white privilege, and cultural appropriation. Surprisingly, the movie was a hit and helped to define teen comedy in the early 2000s. The film was partially responsible for catapulting cheerleading into the mainstream as it helped to popularize cheerleading.
Cheer is a six-part series on Netflix that premiered in 2020. The Netflix series follows the Navarro College Bulldogs Cheer Team. It focuses on five cheer members and includes elements of the history of cheerleading.
It is about how coach Monica Aldama built the program from the ground up and made the program into the best in the nation. Many have said that the series perfectly captures the highs and lows of being a cheerleader.
Top West Coast Senior Coed Allstar Cheerleading Team - California All-Stars SMOED
The Top West Coast Senior Coed All-Star cheerleading team is California All-Stars SMOED. They are so amazing that they have their own TV series and actually have claimed the entire SMOED division to be their own.
Being a part of this team means that you love tough love because the team is all about grueling training. They have plenty of trophies to prove they know what they are doing.
Best Competitive High School Cheerleading Team - Hartland
The Best Competitive High School cheerleading team is Hartland because of their precision and strength, which is out of this world. Their style is slightly different.
They beat out Rochester, who won twelve titles between 1994 and 2009. The winners are ranked in three rounds: Cheer & Jumps, Tumble, and Stunt.
In 2006, National Concerns Over The Safety Of Cheerleading Peaked
In 2006, there were major concerns about the safety of cheerleading when a cheerleader, Kristi Yamaoka, fell fifteen feet from a pyramid and fractured her vertebrae. This accident happened at Southern Illinois University, and the cheerleader lost her balance and fell onto her head. She was placed in a back and neck brace while the crowd and fellow cheerleaders sat in silence. She was motionless for a few minutes on the court and said she doesn't remember the fall. The 18-year-old continued cheering with her arms as she was taken off the court.
She said, "As long as my arms were functioning, I could do the fight song. I just knew that it would be a little easier for my team and squad to concentrate if they knew I was ok and not worrying about me. I didn't want the team to get distracted. I needed them to win for me. It's a little bit scary falling from 15 feet. That kind of thing doesn't happen often." Her team did win, beating Bradley 59-46 in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament final. In addition, Yamaoka's routine from the gurney got her a standing ovation. She was told she would make a full recovery, but her current season of cheerleading was over.
Three Million U.S. Cheerleaders
Today, there are more than three million cheerleaders in the United States participating in youth rec, All-Star, school cheer, and STUNT. There is no sign of the growth and interest in cheer slowing down anytime soon.
The routines are jam-packed with astonishing stunts, expert tumbling, and meticulous choreography. Teams are always getting more creative and more innovative to keep up with the tough competition. They make it clear why cheerleading should be considered a sport.