A Brief History of Cheerleading

A Brief History of Cheerleading
Underwood and Underwood / Corbis

Cheerleading traces its roots to the late 19th century, when crowds began to chant and yell to encourage their team. Credit for the first organized cheer is often given to a University of Minnesota student named Johnny Campbell, who got the Gopher faithful to shout, "Rah, rah, rah! Sku-u-mar, Hoo-rah! Hoo-rah! Varsity! Varsity! Varsity, Minn-e-so-ta!" during a losing effort in the 1898 season. Soon after, a yell-leader squad of six male students was organized, a practice that gained currency at numerous other universities. The four young men above turned out to cheer for Columbia in a game against Syracuse in 1924.

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