Cheerleaders should be respected as athletes

Grace Lyles, Staff Writer

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Cheerleading has evolved into a competitive sport and is a lot different than what it used to be. It is more complicated than standing on the sidelines cheering for a team. The cheer world has added a lot more difficulty and creativity. This causes young cheerleaders to form into athletes that are proving every day that cheerleading deserves to be considered a sport once and for all.
An official sport is classified by a competition against an opponent. A sport also has to be a physical activity with clear rules. Competitive cheerleading is a competition against opponents battling for a title. It is a physical activity and has clear rules. So why shouldn’ t cheerleading be classified as a sport? Why would somebody not call cheerleaders athletes?
Cheerleaders are pushed to the limit physically. They have to lift people multiple feet off the ground and also have to do some difficult tumbling that not every person could do easily. So cheerleaders have proven that they are athletes and that cheerleading should finally be seen as a sport.
This year, competitive cheerleading was even approved for the Olympics. According to a “USA Today,” cheerleading competitions are not all that different from figure skating or gymnastics. The only real difference is that the performance in cheerleading focuses on the team, not the individual athlete.
Unfortunately, cheerleading will not be at Tokyo Olympics in 2020, but the cheerleading world championship happened in April, where the sport proved once and for all that it belongs in the Olympics.
Thirty years ago, the very first cheer competition was held, and thirty years later cheer competitions have spread worldwide. Young athletes keep battling to show that what they do is truly a sport. Cheerleaders have proven that it is not easy and that it takes as much skill as throwing a football or running fast.
Not everybody can be lifted over 8 feet into the air and pull off certain skills, while trusting their teammates to hold them up. They also cannot throw a perfect tumbling pass with high difficulty, but that’s what cheerleaders are trained to do and are expected to perform in front of many people.
According to the Washington Post, cheerleading was the cause of more than half of the “catastrophic” injuries to female athletes.
This includes skull fractures, cervical spine injuries, brain injury or concussions, paralysis, and death. This proves that cheerleaders are put at risk as much as every other athlete.
Cheerleading has been battling so that it can be recognized as a sport. Many cheerleaders believe that they are athletes, but many people say they are not. Unfortunately, you will never understand the cheer world unless you are in it.

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