Cheer Factor

Jumping through hoops to create a new sport

Holly Andres for TIME

Aired out. The Oregon acrobatics and tumbling tea, practices it's moves.

On a Friday night in February, 2,000 fans start filing into the University of Oregon's Matthew Knight Arena for a cheerleading contest. But if you are expecting pom-poms and megaphone yells, this is not your event. These are female athletes, not sideline supporters. At least that's what they want the NCAA to acknowledge, and there are legal implications for all college athletic programs. The new event is called acro, as in acrobatics and tumbling, and even if it has roots in traditional rah-rah cheerleading, its organizers have rebranded it to shield it from stereotypes like makeup and bare midriffs. Acro teams...

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