Is Cheerleading a Sport? Reasons and Arguments

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What Makes a Sport a Sport?

Sports play a vital role in our lives. It is incredible to increase physical fitness and flexibility of joints. It can mold the body easily in any pose. In sports either men or women, each train hard to get their best level. Like a football team that actually competes against another team to score points and try to win the game. Besides this, on the sidelines, the football team’s cheerleaders constantly support their team by cheerleading.

To display the perfect routine in games, a cheerleader comparatively practices harder than a football or basketball player does. Some people say cheerleading is relevant to athletic activity and cheerleading is a sport but some have a question in mind is cheerleading a sport?

Is cheerleading a sport?

The continuous debate over whether cheerleading is a sport remains a matter of subjectivity. The ultimate verdict on whether cheerleading qualifies as a sport can differ from one person to another. To gain a more comprehensive understanding of this discussion, let’s explore various perspectives:

Reasons Why It is a Sport

There are many arguments as to why cheerleading is a sport. In history, cheerleading started after World War two by students, against the bad attitude and harsh treatment of teachers. Students materialized their own extracurricular activities to gain independence from their faculty abuses. This was the beginning of American Sports that initially started with the collegiate team. On November 6, 1869, the first intercollegiate football game was played in the United States of America with a cheer of “Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah! Tiger! S-s-s-t! Boom! A-h-h-h!” of fans and students who were attending games.

In the beginning, cheerleading was an all-male activity. But after some years it began to be considered a feminine activity. At every school and collegiate level across the country, females were leading it. Professional cheerleading was begun in 1950 and women were selected for two reasons. Including encouragement of their teams to compete their team by exposing visual sex appeal and an ability to dance sophisticatedly

Group of CheerleadFrom 1972-1973 Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders got achievements in aesthetic outfits and dance moves to lead the crowd. It grew up together with football with more inventive ways to make the airwaves and learned about pyramids and stunts. This made cheerleading change solely from a sideline activity to a competitive sport. 

Why It is not a Sport?

As the National Federation of State High School Associations and the Women’s Sports Foundation define “A sport is played for a competition and have rules to follow.” A sports team exists to score points not to perform or entertain the audience and it is an important factor of realization.

Cheerleading as Sport Reason

Initially, school Cheerleading started to focus on promoting school spirit. They initiated by supporting their teams in the competition and giving leadership to the school and community. It is not considered a sport because there is no competition against other opponents. They just cheer to support or motivate the crowd and their team.

In addition to this, it is not the subject of the rules and regulations that keep athletes safe. The cheer squad mostly doesn’t have proper facilities and equipment. On the other hand, a sportsman has access to a trainer, medical care, certified coaches, and suitable practice time. With actual training requirements, athletes are not exposed to avoidable risk.

Many people give negative comments about cheerleading like why is cheerleading a sport? They see one end of the picture and forget other. So pay attention both ends just like a player’s efforts and skills.

Well, It has been a part of debate for many years and there is no authentic statement about cheerleading as a sport.

Cheerleaders are athletes that require physically demanding and mentally challenging as any activity.

Cheerleading in Comparison to Other Sports

As the days of pom pom and claps are over things are more complex and competitive just like “All-Star” cheerleading which is different from American football or basketball. Cheerleaders work hard to polish their steps to compete with each other in a head-to-head fashion. Every squad has to do physical exertion to create a performance routine.

When comparing cheerleading to other sports, there’s a common misinterpretation that stems from the relatively short duration of a competition routine. It typically lasts just 2 minutes and 30 seconds. However, this belief couldn’t be further from the truth. Cheerleading demands a significant amount of mental and physical strength as compared to traditional sports.

Unlike some sports like football, where there’s an opportunity to rectify errors in the second half, cheerleading offers no second chances. There’s just that one crucial moment to step onto the floor and deliver the routine flawlessly. This is why rigorous practice is a constant in the cheerleader’s life. Achieving a perfect routine doesn’t guarantee victory either, as it ultimately rests in the judges’ subjective hands.

Fallacies about Cheerleading

Sadly, misconceptions prevail regarding cheerleading, often labeling cheerleaders as mere crowd leaders and eye candy. The reality is quite different. The countless hours of intense practice, outside of school functions, remain unseen by many, making it essential to challenge these preconceived notions. Unlike other sports that receive substantial promotion, cheerleading’s competitive aspect still awaits wider recognition and appreciation.

Why is Cheerleading the Most Dangerous Sport

When you see from a cheerleader perspective, you will analyze the facts and realize how difficult for a squad to do flips, and lift up another girl. Whose size is bigger than a ball hold her up in the air, and do a full stunt sequence without dropping her.

So to throw a girl in the air and catch her is not more than the most dangerous sport. Any little mistake can result in serious injury or sometimes the cheerleader may lose her/his body parts. Competitive cheerleading is very different it involves dancing, jumping, trembling, and creating different angles to form pyramids.

Cheerleading the most Dangerous SportWhile performing, it is critical and dangerous at certain points that they are afraid of falling on the ground. A cheerleader uses all of their energy to dance, tumble, heel stretches, and splits. Everyone needs so much training if they are starting from the bottom. They get points of difficulty as well as their looks, bow, and makeup.

Did you know that cheerleading has more injuries and it comes after football? The reports show 2/3  catastrophic injuries amongst high school female athletes. 37,000 cheerleaders went to the emergency room in 2011. The prevalence of concussions and catastrophic injuries can potentially lead to permanent disabilities.

The best way to prevent injuries is to declare cheerleading a sport and require teams to follow the same regulations and rules as any other physical sport. The U.S. All-Star Federation organizes cheerleading competitions within safety limits and dictates rules of conduct.

Cheerleading as a Sport

The International Olympic Committee(IOC) has given cheerleading a provisional status as an Olympic sport.

In 2016 the New York Times report said, that the IOC (the International Olympic Committee) executive board voted to recognize cheerleading as a sport. And that it is not important for cheerleaders to be able to participate in the year of  2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang or in the 2020 Games in Tokyo. This sport takes a period of three years. During this time, IOC execs can vote at any time to recognize the sport and then the ICU can request to add to the Games. If they accept or approve the request then cheerleading officially becomes part of an Olympic sport!

Cheerleading Sport


Several updates have been made in considering cheerleading as a sport on a global level. Specific of these are STUNT and recognition by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in the Olympics:

STUNT Update

Congratulate! To the Cheer Community USA Cheer announced the sport of STUNT in 2011, which is derived from traditional cheerleading. The purpose of STUNT is to create new opportunities for female athletes at the collegiate and high school levels to meet the requirements of a sport under Title IX. This new discipline of STUNT includes all of the athletic skills from cheerleading in 4 quarters of games. For head-to-head competition by focusing on the technical element and athletic components.

The game consists of four different formats such as pyramids, basket tosses, group jumps, and tumbling. In each quarter of the game, the team of cheerleaders is evaluated on their difficulty level and performing skills. If a team performs its best routine will get the points. Stunt expanding its horizon and more than 500,000 high school cheerleaders are actively participating. They represent the United States of America in international cheer competitions.

At the 9th Annual College STUNT, National Championship, Oklahoma State University, and Davenport University took Top Honor with the level of their talent.

Recognition by IOC

In 2021, USA Cheer honored full International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognition for the International Cheer Union. The recognition was granted by the IOC membership in a vote at the 138th IOC Session, in advance of the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. From the IOC prospect, the International Cheer Union will receive at least $25,000 every year. This allocation will result in the inclusion of cheerleading in the 2024 or 2028 Olympics.

The ICU and Cheerleading are now fully eligible to petition to be included in the Olympic Games and a variety of Olympic multi-sport Games. The recognition will help ensure greater support and funding for Cheerleading development in many countries around the world.

38 Replies to “Is Cheerleading a Sport? Reasons and Arguments”
  1. Jeannine says:

    My daughters team cheers on the football players and performs against other cheer squads at the state, regional and national level. I don’t understand why the article would say there is no competition?

    1. Faisal says:

      Well, as you know there is a large debate on cheerleading to consider a sport or not. Yes, I agree with your comment that some cheer teams compete, but not all do. That’s why critics say cheerleading isn’t a sport because it sees cheerleading as a physical activity. Supporters consider cheerleading a sport that involves the heavy use of athletic talents.

      1. Syndi says:

        Isn’t that true of drill teams as well? And yet – they are considered a sport????

        1. riggs says:

          bruh you suck at typing

  2. Mary-Helen LeMay says:

    so are you implying that throwing 130 lb girls in the air and throwing our bodies upside down and sometimes twisting also isn’t a sport…. lol okay

  3. Veronica Vanlerionill says:

    Cheer is absolutely a sport because it takes training and physical agility……

    1. Ariel Smith says:

      Well if you wasn’t a idiot you would know that cheering is not all about flips and tricks. We practice just like football and basketball players.And plus half of the audience at the games don’t come to see the players they come to see us cheer.So next time you want to say something stupid think about how cheerleaders get hurt and injured just like the football and basketball players./

  4. Nicole Ariela says:

    However, it’s not a sport. Cheering for another team is basically just showing off that you can do flips and tricks, cheer is NOT required for Basketball to be Basketball or Football to be Football, the crowd does just fine cheering on their own! All cheerleaders do is just scream in sync and flips and tricks, While it is cool, It’s just not worth the injury to do something the crowd can do a lot of encouraging without the distracting outfits and glitter

    1. Madeline Lam says:

      Take a look into competitive cheer. Although there is the glittery uniforms and makeup, there are new rules starting in a few years that the athletes have to dress more collegiate with minimal makeup, straight slicked back ponytail, and no more gemstones on the uniforms. This is because cheerleading might be in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

      1. Haley says:

        competitive cheer is more than dangerous than any other sport the flyers give you their life in your hand and they trust you to catch them and if you don’t well that may just cost you their trust and may cause the flyer to cost their life or even a body part that no one would like to loose!!!

      2. Aralynn Kelso says:

        Im so glad to hear this. I am a cheerleader and that is awsome!!

    2. Haley says:

      Okay, I disagree because it’s more than what you think. It’s more than a sport. Flyers like myself put their life in someone’s hand to trust them to catch them when they come down and if not that it may cost someone’s life or even body parts that nobody would like to lose.

    3. gangladah says:

      excuse me, but if you look at competitive cheer leading, it is a sport. They are placed in teams and you are in certain levels to your extent of how good you are at the SPORT. They earn points and they either win in first, second or third place depending on what you cheer for. Yes, as you are younger, cheering for high school or middle school sports, it is not exactly a sport because of the reason you applied. other than that, it is a sport .

      1. emily says:

        EXACTLY, also how can track be considered a sport but not cheer? They run against other people in races it is the same concept except no one is really caring about that debate because everyone bashes cheerleaders.

    4. Shyanne says:

      Go see an all star cheer team, then you can talk. Thanks bye. Most of the time cheer teams don’ t want to cheer at the basketball games or football games but it is required at the school and school teams still compete. Unlike any other sport teams we don’t have subs. If yo get hurt you have to keep going.

    5. belle says:

      Other sports are not needed also, such as track, basketball, football etc. but they are wanted there for entertainment purposes.

    6. riggs says:

      I like the way you think… I respect it

    7. Destiny Michael says:

      we don’t just cheer for games and stuff we compete at competition

  5. amber says:

    The Sideline portion maybe not, but there is miscommunication because cheer leading also has its own competitive portion and its own branch CIF sport called stunt where two teams go head to head.

  6. Haley says:

    I think cheerleading is a sport because It takes a lot of dedication and commitment to become a cheerleader its, not something you cant just quit its something you work hard for to get to that point you want to get to.

  7. Haley says:

    I think cheerleading is a sport because It takes a lot of dedication and commitment to become a cheerleader its, not something you cant just quit its something you work hard for to get to that point you want to get to.

  8. Ainsley says:

    As far as I know as a all star AND school cheerleader I know that we compete and it’s one of the biggest things we look forward to for the season!

  9. Abby says:

    The definition of a sport in the Oxford dictionary is “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment”. A cheerleader ticks all of these boxes, not even while competing. In competitive cheerleading cheerleaders compete against each other for points, much like an ice skating show. To discount cheerleaders by saying cheerleading isn’t a sport at this point is prideful, and pedantic.

  10. Ariel Smith says:

    Nicole Ariela

  11. Greg says:

    Look at all you triggered cheerleaders or former cheerleaders cry that alot of people dont consider it a sport. It’s obviously not a sport and they give the reasons why it isnt. Sport is just a word anyway. The hussy fits are hilarious though.

    1. Camryn says:

      I love to see this “Greg”. Let’s see you try competitive cheer, shall we? You wouldn’t be able to handle it for a second. The term “sport” can be talked about in different ways. Since you also have reasons to why it isn’t a sport, i would love to hear them! – from a competitive cheerleader <3

  12. Lele says:

    Cheerleading is a sport!!! I have been cheering since I was 4 years old and I am now 14!!! Us girls practice just as hard as other sports and I should know that because I’ve done Track, softball, swim, gymnastics, competitive cheer, school cheer and volleyball . I have worked so hard in all these sports and had a bunch of bad things happen. In cheer I’ve seen girls hit the floor from the air and head down to the floor and it hurts trust me. We do the same skills as gymnastics and they are considered a sport so us Cheerleaders should too. PLEASE IF YOU NEVER DONE CHEER SIT DOWN YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO SAY IF It IS A SPORT OR NOT IF YOU NEVER DONE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Try doing a whole routine over and over again no water nothing! ITS SAD SEEING PEOPLE HATE CAUSE WE KNOW YOU SAD YOU DIDN’T MAKE THE TEAM SO GO CRY ABOUT IT lmaooo honestly stay mad haters <3 Mwuahhh

  13. daphnee says:

    the cheere squad did not exept me they bulied me and were very meen i almost killed myself so it is not a sport

  14. daphnee says:

    the cheere squad did not exept me they bulied me and were very meen i almost killed myself so it is not a sport.

  15. Maddie says:

    ok but like how is cheer not a sport you can say you just throw girls…um ok….baseball players throw not even a 10ib ball hit it with a bat and catch it. How is that a sport? Take golf as an example thats considered a sport and all you do is hit a ball with a club. So many sports can be worded to make it seem easy and that is the characteristic cheer has. Yes, its hard to consider sideline cheer a sport but if girls are walking out and putting a routine on a map against other teams that is a sport. Cheer is a sport you need strength, good attitude, ability to work in a team and so many other things other sports have. We practice just like a team does. You have no clue how hard we get worked at practice. So if you want to say cheer is a sport please take my place. Please do a back flip and stick it with tight arms. Please throw a girl with one hand and catch her to do a trick. I wanna see it go ahead…

  16. katrina mcfarts says:

    EVERYBODYYYY RUMBLEEEEE< u ugly losers need to know that cheer is a sport because u have to base flyers and sometimes the flyers fart which give the backspot pinkeye and pinkeye is considered a injury/ something medical, so this way i consider cheer a sport thanks, dont talk to me again i dont wanna hear or hear ur ratchet nappy looking self responding to me.

  17. addy VB says:

    so you are saying that although we get dropped it still isn’t counted as a sport because we put our lives at risk it’s not a sport?

  18. Anoynomous says:


  19. Urgirl_nya says:

    I think its a sport, only because it is competitive just like football or basketball. I hate how people think its all just tricks and screams, cause its not just that. Its more than that, its fun and giving spirit to the boys. Sometimes people only come to see the cheerleaders, so maybe next time u should ask a real cheerleader how they feel abt doing cheer.

  20. CheerQueen says:

    Cheer is definitely a sport. Everyone who tells me its not, can go do my full routine, and I want them to tell me then if cheerleadings a sport. We compete. We do flips. We do jumps. We do dance. And what do we get? Told that we aren’t even athletic. Explain to me how that’s fair.

  21. bob says:

    chirliding eto sportlook up in google translate

  22. maddie zellers says:

    cheer is a sport we work our butt’s off working on our routine we compete we wake up at 5:45 every morning and all i hear “cheer is not a sport nah nah nah” whatever cheer is s sport and you can keep telling yourself its not a sport but it is you guys suck i am on a cheer team and i was in a boot for 6 weeks and cheer is a sport so ya your guys website sucks!

  23. Mirabelle Ryan says:

    Honestly, I dont understand how people who have never done cheer get to argue that it is not a sport. I was a cheerleader and just because I didn’t play football doesn’t mean I get to argue that it isn’t a sport actually, it is the opposite. the things that I put myself through and my teammates put themselves through are indescribable. I am one of many cheerleaders that actually have a legitimate say in this argument. it makes me sad to see people who have never done cheer, argue and fight agaist cheer being a sport. just ignore those people and stick to the right side of the arguement. honestly cheer is a sport and thst is not an opinion its a fact.

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