Cheerleading is everywhere in 2022 and you have the University of Minnesota's Golden Gophers' 1898 losing streak to thank for it!

Cheerleading Was Born in Minnesota

MNHS
MNHS
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It was 1898, the Gophers were having a really bad season. After a 28-0 whomping by Madison, students demanded a change. The president of the U wanted a change, too. So, on November 11th, there was a meeting that changed the course of history forever.

People gathered in the U's chapel to solve the problem. They were going to be playing Northwestern, and President Cyrus Northrop couldn't stand the thought of losing that game. His suggestion?

Yell Leaders.

Yell Leaders Save the Day at the U of M

The 1898 Gopher eleven - MNHS
The 1898 Gopher eleven - MNHS
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At that same meeting, six students were elected Yell Leaders, including Johnny Campbell, a Legendary Minnesotan! Who's Johnny Campbell? He's the guy that literally invented cheerleading! Johnny Campbell was a medical student and, apparently, had a ton of school spirit because he led the Yell Leaders Squad for the game against Northwestern.

Johnny Campbell (Public Domain)
Johnny Campbell (Public Domain)
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Campbell directed a crowd in cheering "Rah, Rah, Rah! Ski-u-mah, Hoo-Rah! Hoo-Rah! Varsity! Varsity! Varsity, Minn-e-So-Tah!", making Campbell the very first cheerleader." (source)

And it worked! Minnesota won 17-6! In fact, the yells were thought so successful, the "Ski-U-Mah" and other cheers are still used by anyone cheering on the Gophers.

Johnny Campbell went on to have a successful career as a doctor, returning regularity to Gopher Games to lead cheers.

Minnesota Scores Another Cheerleading First

The first women to cheer at U of M in 1923. Literally, the only photo I could find, please click to see the original at sutori.com ( (MinnesotaAlumni.org)
The first women to cheer at U of M in 1923. Literally, the only photo I could find, please click to see the original at sutori.com ( (MinnesotaAlumni.org)
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As if inventing cheerleading wasn't enough to guarantee the Gophers a place in history, the innovation didn't stop there. In 1923 Minnesota was the first college to let women into cheerleading. It didn't take long for more acrobatic routines to come along, as well as tumbling.

You're welcome, world! Sincerely, Minnesota!

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