Olympic dreams: Six unlikely sports vying to make it to the Games

  • Olympic dreams: Six unlikely sports vying to make it to the Games

    Members of the Taiwan team perform during the cheer dance competition at the the Cheerleading World Championships in Hong Kong on November 26, 2011. The 6th Cheerleading World Championships is a biennial event featuring some 70 teams from over 20 countries. DALE de la REY/AFP/Getty Images


    In some respects cheerleading faces the same Olympic hurdles as pole dancing. First, many question whether it's even a sport. Then there's its reputation (in the U.S., at least) for spawning ultra-competitive teenagers - not to mention cheerleading moms who hire hit men to take out the competition.

    Indeed the drama surrounding cheerleading sometimes overshadows the sport itself. If you need any proof of this, tune into TLC next month for the premier of "Cheer Perfection," a new reality show about the mothers behind competitive cheerleading.

    And so it is with this baggage of pom-pom moms that cheerleading seeks to qualify for the Games. The International Cheer Union submitted a request for recognition to the Olympic Committee in 2010 but so far the efforts have failed.

    But don't dismiss the athleticism of elite cheerleaders. They are top-notch gymnasts - and even world-class track and field stars. Last week, a cheerleader for the Atlanta Falcons nearly qualified for the Olympics -- as a pole vaulter.

    But will cheerleading ever vault into the Olympics? Maybe not but it won't be lack for enthusiasm. In its official IOC application announcement, the International Cheer Union was probably the only Olympic hopeful to use two exclamation points!

  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for CBSNews.com