The sexiest group of athletes at the Olympics this year, arguably, aren't the nearly naked male swimmers. In fact, they aren't even eligible for medals; it's the gyrating, hair-whipping, bikini-clad cheerleaders. You may not be aware that the Games have cheer teams shaking their pom-poms for Olympic sports like beach volleyball and basketball, but despite London allegedly having the biggest presence of cheerleaders at its Games this Summer, their presence isn't anything new.
Cheerleading was included in the opening ceremony of the Munich Games in 1972 and the Atlanta Games in 1996, and we've seen NBA-style dance teams during the Olympic basketball games since at least the '90s as well. At the 2004 Olympics in Athens, a team of skimpily dressed cheerleaders from the Canary Islands caused a stir when they became the first dance team to entertain during an Olympic beach volleyball game. There was fierce competition for 2008's official Beijing Games Olympic cheerleading team, which ended up including 428 members and cheered for 17 sports.
Most of the cheerleaders at the London Games (specifically, four squads of 16 cheerleaders each) are from the Ascension Eagles, a British charity cheer program. However, the beach volleyball gals are from the Crimson Heat cheer squad. And Team GB made a controversial decision when they picked the more sporty and conservatively dressed North London Wildcats as their official team over the fan-favorite Crystals, who made a sexy viral video of themselves lip-syncing to "Call Me Maybe." Click through to see how the Olympic cheer teams have evolved over the years.