U-S-A!

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For other uses, see USA (disambiguation).

"U-S-A!" is a chant of the United States of America's initials popular in expressing American pride and supporting American national sports teams. It is also used in other community events, such as at political rallies.

Origins[edit]

Use in sports[edit]

The film Olympia: Festival of Nations, documenting the 1936 Summer Olympics, includes the chant during the finals of the 1500 meter event and the long jump.[1] It was also documented at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany, during the basketball tournament final between the United States and the Soviet Union.[2]

However, the chant was popularized in the context of ice hockey at the 1980 Winter Olympics. During the U.S.'s 7–3 win over Czechoslovakia in the second game, the crowd began chanting "U-S-A! U-S-A!" in support of the American hockey team as the Americans scored a decisive win over one of the best teams in the world. The chant became a fixture of the team's remaining games and gained national attention after the U.S. defeated the Soviet Union in what became known as the "Miracle on Ice", later moving on to beat Finland for the gold medal.[3]

In professional wrestling, "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan was popularly known for making the cheer during his wrestling matches and inciting the crowd to repeat it after him. The chant has also been used by fans to taunt characters who dislike America, such as Canadian star Bret Hart, who was beloved in the United States but turned his back on the country during an infamous 1997 storyline.[4] It has also been used to support wrestlers with pro-American gimmicks, like Hulk Hogan, regardless of the nationality of their opponents.

Post 9/11 usage[edit]

Original caption of this photograph read: "Standing upon the ashes of the worst terrorist attack on American soil, Sept. 14, 2001, President Bush pledges that the voices calling for justice from across the country will be heard. Responding to the Presidents' words, rescue workers cheer and chant, "U.S.A, U.S.A." "

The 9/11 attacks found a revival in the chant during patriotic ceremonies at sporting events; the chant was also heard when U.S. President George W. Bush visited the ruins at the World Trade Center site in the week following the 2001 attacks.[5] The chant at the ruins was started by North Hudson Firefighter Thomas Irving, who was there for clean-up along with many other first-responders. Crowds gathered outside of the White House on May 1, 2011 could be heard chanting "U-S-A!" after President Barack Obama announced that al-Qaeda co-founder Osama bin Laden had been killed by American forces in Pakistan. The cheer was also chanted that Sunday evening at the only MLB baseball game being held while the news was breaking, between the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets.[6] At the 2011 WWE Extreme Rules event in Tampa, Florida on the same date, the arena erupted in U-S-A chants as the death of Osama bin Laden was announced by then WWE Champion, John Cena.

Use of the chant at a sporting event in 2013 at Adolfo Camarillo High School caused some controversy due to alleged "racist overtones".[7]

Satirical usage[edit]

The "U-S-A" chant has been adopted by English football supporters during matches against Manchester United, who have American owners unpopular with the club's supporters due to the club's being saddled by massive debt. Opposing supporters remind the United supporters of this with the "U-S-A" chant;[8] this was also true of Liverpool, until the RBS takeover. However, the chant is also used non-sarcastically by British supporters to celebrate achievements of American players such as Tim Howard at Everton.

The chant, led by Woody Boyd, was used in the Cheers episode "A Fine French Whine" upon hearing the news that a French citizen with eyes on Boyd's girlfriend has overstayed his visa and would soon be deported. It has shown up on The Jerry Springer Show, where it may spontaneously and without apparent reason follow the show's standard cheer of "Jer-ry, Jer-ry!" and is also often delivered by Homer Simpson on The Simpsons as a celebration of almost anything, often accompanied by honking of his car's horn and flashing of its headlights. The chant is also used on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia when the gang come up with a plan.

References[edit]