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Every year, Disney World plays host to the USASF Cheerleading World Competition. An estimated three million people are cheerleaders in the United States, and half as many more are on dance teams. These teams prepare all year for competitions such as the one at Disney. The sport is incredibly popular in the United States, and is one of the most visible female-dominated sports. Since it’s conception at the University of Minnesota, cheerleading has grown to the point that 80% of schools now have a cheer squad. Here’s just a few things you may not have known about this beloved sport.

  • In 1994, American Cheerleader magazine made its debut, and today it has an impressive 200,000 copy circulation with a readership of one million.
  • Each summer, around a half-million cheerleaders attend cheer camp.
  • Dwight Eisenhower, George W. Bush, and Franklin Roosevelt are just a few examples of U.S. Presidents who were cheerleaders.
  • 12% of cheerleaders are between the ages of five and 13, and 12% are dancers.
  • Getting tumbling instructions or taking tumbling classes from a young age helps build strength, balance, and flexibility skills that can help a child’s performance not only in competitive cheerleading but other sports they may participate in.
  • A hands on safety technique called spotting is used to teach maneuvers like forward and backward rolls. A cheerleading coach may also use spotting to teach backbends or cartwheels.
  • Worldwide, there are more than four million cheerleaders in thirty-one countries.
  • About 98% of female cheerleader have previous experience in gymnastics.
  • Though it is now a predominately female sport, when cheerleading first started it was all men.
  • Overall, 97% of cheerleaders are women and girls. However, at the collegiate level, the gender split is about 50/50.
  • Many cheerleaders pick the sport up young and continue all the way through college. Were you a cheerleader? How did it impact your life? Tell us in the comments!

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