Is Cheerleading a Sport? Reasons and Arguments

Written by Usman Maqsood | Last modified on:

What Makes a sport a sport?

Sports play a vital role in our life. It is an incredibly increased the physical fitness and flexibility of joints and muscles that molds body easily in any pose. Sports (man or women), each train hard to get their best set of records.

Like a football team who actually compete against another team to score points and try to win the game, besides this, on the sidelines the football team’s cheerleaders constantly supporting their team.

To display the perfect routine in games, a cheerleader comparatively practices hard 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 that is cheerleading a sport?

Is cheerleading a sport?

Updated: 11 April 2018

Reasons Why Cheerleading is a Sport

There are many arguments made why cheerleading is a sport, in history, the cheerleading was started after the world war two by students, against the bad attitude and harsh treatment of teachers. Students developed 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 shouted 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 involves by all-male activity but after some years it began to consider feminine activity at every school and collegiate level across the country. Professional cheerleading was started in 1950 and women were selected for two reasons to encourage their teams to compete their team by exposing visual sex appeal an ability to dance sophisticatedly

Group of CheerleadFrom 1972-1973 Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders got achievement 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 into sideline activity to a competitive sport. 

Cheerleading is a sport

So IOC (the International Olympic Committee) was given provisional status to cheerleading to become an Olympic sport in the future.

In 2016 the new York times report said, the IOC (the International Olympic Committee) executive board voted on Tuesday to recognize cheerleading as a sport but doesn’t important that cheerleader will be able to participate in the year of  2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang or in 2020 Games in Tokyo. From IOC prospect the International Cheer Union, will receive at least $25,000 every year and get chance to apply for further endowments.  This sport takes a period of three years and during this time, IOC execs can vote at any time to recognize the sport and then ICU can request to add in the Games. If the request is accepted or approved then cheerleading officially becomes part of an Olympic sport!

college girls doing CheerleadingCompetitive Cheerleading is a Sport

As the days of pom pom and claps are over and 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 performance routine. It is a tough part of training as compared to any other competitive sport.

The U.S. All Star Federation organizes cheerleading competition within safety limits and dictates rules of conduct.

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, lift up another girl whose size is bigger than a ball and 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 put in serious injury or some time cheerleader may lose her/his body parts. Competitive cheerleading is very different that’s 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 scared and worried about going to fall 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 heir 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 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 spors

But why Cheerleading 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.

sports illustrated cheerleader of the weekInitially, school Cheerleading was started to focus on to promote school spirit by supporting their teams in the competition and give the leadership to the school and community. It is not considered a sport because there is no competition against other opponents but 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. Cheer squad mostly don’t have proper facilities and equipment. But on the other hand, a sportsman have access to the 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, there is no authentic statement about cheerleading is a sport. It has been debating for many years.

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


Congratulate! To Cheer Community that USA Cheer has announced the sport of STUNT in 2011, which is derived from traditional cheerleading. The purpose of STUNT helps 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, is re-crafted in 4 quarters games of 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 assessed on its 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 to represent the United States of America in international cheer competitions.

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


28 Replies to “Is Cheerleading a Sport? Reasons and Arguments”
  1. 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. 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.

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

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

  5. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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

  11. 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

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

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