Believe it or not, competitive cheerleading is actually still in its early years! There are several companies that hold multiple competitions annually, but these are all fairly new, and there are still new competitions being developed. Here's a brief history of cheerleading competitions:
In the late 1960s, The International Cheerleading Foundation (now known as the World Cheerleading Association) started an annual cheerleading tradition
of ranking the top performing college teams and handing out other rewards.
The first national broadcast of a college cheerleading competition
was aired on CBS.
ESPN airs the National High School Cheerleading Championships (NHSCC), and the type of team that we know as an All Star team today begins to form. By now, there are cheerleading companies
opening all over that are offering competitive cheerleading camps
and training. By the late 1980s, "All Star" teams are coined for squads that focus only on performances, which opens up new doors for competitions.
By the early 1990s, All star competitions, coined "˜Nationals' by NCA and UCA, are commonplace. By the mid-1990s, cheer gyms have began opening and forming teams like Top Gun and Cheer Athletics. By the late 1990s, cheer teams are competing with routines that are done to music all the way through "“ with no chanting or similar qualities that are associated with sideline cheering.
By the 2000s, cheer gym teams are debuting new moves and incorporating more tumbling - taking competitive routines to new levels. Springboard floors had been incorporated into some competition floors in the late 1990s, and cheerleaders were wasting no time getting full use of them. Also, even more competition companies are being formed, like Athletic Championships. Remember the small movie called Bring It On!
? That movie (now a hit Broadway show!) premiered in 2000 and brought competitive cheerleading into a whole new, bright, shiny spotlight. The first Cheerleading Worlds was held in Orlando in 2004, and the International Cheer Union formed in 2007 to be the voice of cheerleading for the International Olympic Committee.
Competitions and cheer events continue to form and gain popularity today "“ the US Finals just debuted 3 years ago in 2009!