ACC is continuing on with its ‘Blast from the Past’ series where we look at the past events that have made cheerleading what it is today. This write up looks at a particular era where females where first introduced to the sport.
The following article is from the International Cheer Union website.
For its first 25 years cheerleading was a “male only” activity. It wasn’t until 1923 that the University of Minnesota introduced the first women cheerleaders at their sporting games. Although women continued to participate as cheerleaders in various parts of the USA after 1923, it wasn’t until the 1940s that women became the majority of cheerleading’s athletes during an era when the university male students left the country to fight in World War II. Today, women comprise of more than 90% of the world’s cheerleaders.
Additionally, the 1920’s witnessed cheerleaders adding enhanced techniques and skills to improve their ability to lead and energize the crowd at games, witnessing the addition of various athletic skills, some tumbling, fight song team dances with traditional “motions” (arm movements), and acrobatics to their routines. A cheerleader at the University of Oregon (Northwest USA) introduced “flashcards” (now called “signs”) for the first time to increase crowd participation at their sporting events.