Now here’s something to cheer about!
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted Tuesday to recognize cheerleading as a sport, granting $25,000 in annual funding to the International Cheer Union (ICU), the New York Times reported.
“Cheerleading is a sport with growing popularity, IOC sports director Kit McConnell said, the BBC reported. “It has a strong youth focus and we noted that.”
The ICU has 4.5 registered athletes and over 100 national federations. Teamed participants are judged on their dances, stunts, tumbles, pyramids and overall impressions.
Cheerleaders won’t be tossed in the air at the Olympic Games just yet.
The ICU will have a three year recognition period, during which they can apply for additional grants. After that, they can petition to be included in the official Games.
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At any point during the recognition period, IOC execs can vote to fully recognize the sport. Becoming part of the Games can take upwards of seven years — but host cities are often allowed to introduce sports of their choice for a one-off appearances.
Golf and rugby just joined the Olympic roster in 2016. Skateboarding, surfing, and karate are among the six new sports that will appear at the 2020 Games in Tokyo.
Cheerleading isn’t the only sport that was granted the $25,000 yearly funding from the IOC. The martial art of Muay Thai was also added. Its organization boats nearly 400,000 registers athletes and 135 national federations.
If both make the cut, the number of recognized Olympic sports would rise to 37.