For years cheerleaders have wished for the sport to be a part of the Olympics. It seems like the perfect fit, doesn’t it? Though with competitive cheerleading having enough trouble even being considered a sport in most states how far off are we from seeing it in the Olympics? With the 2010 ICU World Cup upon us I think it is worth it to reflect on the current state of cheerleading trying to become an Olympic sport and what can be done to help this along.
Things going well:
- Cheerleading now has an active International organization in the ICU (something required by the International Olympic Committee)
- Cheerleading is booming in the USA
- Cheerleading has an international team competing at an international competition (Team USA)
Things that still need work:
- Cheerleading is still not recognized by the IOC as a sport (the first step towards Olympics)
- Cheerleading doesn’t meet the drug test requirements to be recognized as a sport (just take a look at a large amount of the boys stunting in college)
- Cheerleading needs to practiced world wide. Having an organization and one gym representing a country does not mean it is practiced world wide. Remember that baseball was recently taken out of the Olympics because there were not enough countries participating throughout that individual country. Cheerleading is not as big as baseball internationally.
- International competition needs to be more competitive. Team USA is ridiculously better than all the other teams.
- It is a lot harder to become an Olympic sport in the summer games. They have a set amount of spots for the summer games and have no trouble filling those spots with already recognized sports.
- There are no more demonstration sports for cheerleading to exhibition at the Olympics. They stopped those in 1992
- There is still not enough organization in the sport of cheerleading itself. The rules vary widely depending on what competition you are at and what age group you are in. This isn’t like international basketball and there is a funny shaped free throw lane. It is a complete different scoring philosophy everywhere you go.
While we all love this sport of cheerleading there is a long way to go before we enter it into the Olympics. The sports for 2012 have already been voted in and 2016 sports are only being considered of the recognized sports (of which we are not). It took BMX biking 30 years to become a sport once their international organization was created and we are only in our 2nd year of the ICU. But every journey has to start with a single step. I just hope to see cheerleading in the Olympics in my lifetime.