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Cheerleading, team activity in which elements of dance and acrobatics are combined with shouted slogans to entertain.

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Once a sideline activity created exclusively to support school sports, cheerleading has gained recognition as a sport.

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Cheerleading has long been considered an iconic American activity, symbolizing school spirit, leadership, youth, and sex appeal.

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Although cheerleading today is predominantly associated with femininity, the original cheerleaders were men.

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In the latter half of the 19th century, as attendance at college sports grew, larger stadiums were built and spectators.

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By the 1920s cheerleading had become a formal extracurricular activity for high school, college, and community boys across the country.

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Women and people of color were excluded from the private all-male schools where collegiate sports and cheerleading first flourished.

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At the same time a separate cheerleading tradition developed within black educational institutions, with a similar emphasis.

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The mobilization of college-age men during World War II opened up new opportunities in cheerleading for women and ultimately.

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Cheerleading's decline was short-lived, however, and it soon became more popular and profitable than ever.