Here’s something to cheer about: the International Olympic Committee’s executive board voted on Tuesday to recognize cheerleading as a sport, the New York Times reports.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that cheerleaders will be going to the 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea or even the 2020 Games in Tokyo. The IOC’s recognition means that cheerleading’s governing body, the International Cheer Union, will receive at least $25,000 every year and have the opportunity to apply for additional grants. This period of recognition lasts for three years, and at any point during this time, IOC execs can vote to fully recognize the sport. At that point, the ICU can petition to be included in the Games. If the petition is approved, cheerleading officially becomes an Olympic sport!
While it’s true that the Games have history stretching all the way back to Ancient Greece, the included sports aren’t as fixed in place as you might think. Tug of war used to be an Olympic sport — seriously! And golf and rugby just joined the roster in 2016. This year, the IOC voted to add several sports, including skateboarding and surfing, to the 2020 Games appeal to younger audiences.
Similarly, Kit McConnell, the IOC’s sports director, told the Times that cheerleading’s “high youth appeal” factored into the decision to recognize the sport.
Basically, the IOC wants to make sure that you and your friends are all crowded around the TV whenever the Olympics happen. Hey, if that means more stuff like this during the Olympics, it’s all good.