Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympic Cheerleaders

Most sports reporting don't cover cheer leaders, but here they are, before and at the Olympics. Better to watch at Vimeo in full screen mode (1280x720).
Cheerleaders from The Player on Vimeo.

Lower resolution backup at Youtube:


I must have been watching too little Olympics in the past (see? you don't really need tense), before I discovered DVR - VCR, DVD recorder and even TiVo not integrated with your box are just too much hassle to use. I'm not aware that they have cheerleaders in Olympics. One source says that it's newly introduced. But I might have seen it somewhere in the Winter Olympics?? At least they used dancers in beach volleyball in the past, probably trying to sell less popular tickets.
What prompted my interest is that they lined up the whole 91,000 capacity stadium with good looking cheerleaders, shoulder to shoulder. I wondered how many they needed (with skirts). I thought it must be thousands but it turns out that 400 to 500 may do it. But I'm not surprised if they are over a thousand.

Just when I had the urge to count individual heads, I discovered this picture that they double it up with hostesses in elegant gowns on the outer edge, though not as dense. I give up. There are 203 countries? These hostesses held the country name signs so there are enough of them to do it for one country only. Again 203 hostess may just be enough to line the outer circle, with about 400 cheerleaders for the inner one.

Commentators have been worrying about the girls in go-go boots, having to cheer energetically for hours in the heat, equipped with just one bottle of water held at the waist. My experience is that you don't have to worry. Middle aged men and women can do it easily without being fit. When the time comes, you can wave and jump around non-stop at 90F even outdoors, wearing suits or gowns. All you need is adrenalin. The side effect is that when the excitement ends, you can't just settle for a sleep, a bath, or something like that. You want intense sex. Looking at the numbers in the picture, I hope I won't miss another event like this.

Most affluent Asian cities have cheerleaders in high school, except for China I think. I never thought they have any. Some more digging shows that they participate in international competitions, but I think it's more acrobatic than sexy. As for the Olympics, there are 1.5 to 2 million volunteers, of which 200,000 applied for cheer leading. (You really don't want cheer leading to be an Olympic sport!) Sources say they held national competitions to select 200 to 600 to appear in the games. They invited the Patriots(?) to help train their own, and invited teams from other countries to cheer too.