IOC Accepts Cheerleading as Olympic Sport

The International Cheer Union (ICU), the international governing body for cheerleading, expressed its appreciation to the 138th International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session, held today in Tokyo, Japan, for a positive vote granting full IOC recognition to the ICU.

The ICU and Cheerleading are now fully eligible to petition to be included in the Olympic Games and a variety of Olympic multi-sport Games. The recognition will help ensure greater support and funding for Cheerleading development in many countries around the world.

Founded in 2004 and headquartered in the United States, the ICU began its journey to be recognized eleven years ago when it first applied to the IOC, receiving IOC provisional recognition in 2016. The ICU’s mission is to positively advance cheerleading throughout the world. The organization has steadily built its membership and now has 116 National Cheer Federation members.

“The IOC’s actions have created a monumental milestone for cheerleading. We are truly honored to receive this recognition by the IOC,” said Jeff Webb, President of the International Cheer Union. “This decision will greatly assist us as we strive to create opportunities for healthy participation and competition for millions of cheerleading athletes worldwide.”

The ICU has developed educational training programs for athletes, coaches, and officials and has been instrumental in creating standardized rules, as well as safety programs and regulations. In conjunction with its National Federation members, the ICU organizes and supports continental and regional competitions throughout the year, culminating in an annual World Championship, exceeding 10,000 athletes from 70 countries in 2019.

“It is with immense pride that we learned of the IOC’s decision,” said Karl Olson, ICU’s Secretary-General. “We’re truly honored as this represents an important opportunity to continue working to evolve cheerleading on a global scale.”

The 2021 World Championship will take place in an all-virtual on-line format scheduled to be broadcast on October 9 & 10. The 2022 World Championship is scheduled to resume in Orlando, Florida, USA in April next year.

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