Young athletes are building new Olympic dreams at cheerleading gyms in North Texas after the International Olympic Committee announced that cheerleading is officially recognized as an Olympic sport.
The IOC appointment came a few weeks ago, but Tyson Thomas, co-owner of Arlington’s Rebel Yell Cheer, said cheerleaders had been pushing for it for years.
“It’s pretty tough. I will not lie. It’s a tough sport. I got a couple of concussions. I’ve got a lot of dents, lots of bruises, blood sweat and tears and it’s time it was recognized as a sport, ”said Thomas.
It’s a move that proponents say could mean more development support for the sport along with funding.
The President of the International Cheer Union, Jeff Webb, wrote in a statement:
“The IOC’s actions have created a monumental milestone for cheerleading. We are truly honored to receive this recognition from the IOC Board of Directors. This decision will help us a lot as we strive for opportunities for millions of cheer athletes create healthy participation and competition. ” worldwide.”
Based on the surge in enrollments, Thomas said they were seen thanks to the “Simone Biles Effect,” he believes it could mean a boost for local gyms like his too.
“I think a lot of kids would look at this and say I want to be a cheerleader at the Olympics. I want to do it, ”said Thomas.
Perhaps most importantly, it’s in recognition of the hard work athletes like 14-year-old Skylar Thomas do every day.
“We just feel like it’s finally being recognized for what it should be,” said Skylar Thomas.
Cheerleading is still a few steps away from its Olympic debut, but the International Cheer Union is hoping that the first medals can be awarded at the 2028 Los Angeles Games.