Ultimate Frisbee should be in the Olympics
With the PyeongChang Winter Olympics finished, the entire world is looking forward to 2020 when the summer games will be held in Tokyo, Japan. The Tokyo games feature the return of baseball/softball and the debuts of surfing, skate boarding, karate and sport climbing at the olympic level.
With all these new sports finally getting their recognition as Olympic level sports, it got me thinking. I think that Ultimate Frisbee should be an Olympic sport.
I may be a little biased because I played two years of the sport in high school and am currently playing for the club team here at school, but I really do think it has the potential to be an Olympic sport.
I’ll start by stating why it’s not in the Olympics and I think that’s mostly because it is not taken seriously as a sport. It has this stereotype around it that it’s just a bunch of hippies throwing a piece of plastic around in the quad between their classes.
While the game is often played just for fun like that, at a competitive level, it’s just as competitive as similar sports like soccer.
That misconception is holding the sport back as well as the frisbee itself. I don’t think people will take the game seriously because it’s played with an object that usually is just tossed around at family cookouts.
However, in 2015, the International Olympic Committee granted full recognition to the sport. This doesn’t mean it will become an Olympic sport, but it means it could.
And it should. The sport has been growing exponentially since its creation in the 1960’s with now over 7 million participants spanning more than 80 different countries. In North America, there is also a 24-team professional league called the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) that has been gaining popularity since its formation in 2012.
The fast paced nature and the potential for incredible highlights would make it a very interesting competition
at the Olympics. Every once in a while, the sport will appear on ESPN’s social media or on Sportscenter’s top plays featuring some unbelievable catch that only could be made in this sport.
It would be one of those Olympic sports that people would be drawn to just out of curiosity, and then would be hooked by the actual competition. The game plays very similar to soccer and football where there is constant movement so it would not be hard for fans to get involved.
People would probably only care about the sport once every four years, but a lot of the Olympics most popular events are like that. About 88 percent of people who watch the summer games watch some gymnastics, but I doubt most of those people will watch gymnastics after the games are over.
The point is if you put the Olympic name on it, people will watch it and they’re going to care about it.
Ultimate would be a great way to appeal to a younger audience of Olympic viewers. More and more high schools have been establishing programs in recent years with USA Ultimate having a different competition level for all ages.
The values of Ultimate are also very similar to the values of the Olympics. Part of the Olympic movement is “sport for all.” The Olympics have been trying to do this through the inclusion of a few mixed events in upcoming Olympics where men and women compete.
This is groundbreaking for the Olympics, but it’s something that Ultimate has been doing since its creation. Ultimate was built on inclusion for all, and would be a premier ambassador of these values.
Ultimate would also completely go along with the Olympics recent movement to modernize the games. They are trying to appeal to audiences of all ages and demographics and what better way to do that than the inclusion of one of the fastest growing youth sports in the world.
In the end, ultimate is kind of a long shot to make any Olympics in the near future, but that’s not to say there isn’t a chance. The sport seems like it was a match made in heaven for the modern Olympics, so maybe one day, we’ll be able to watch ultimate not as a sport for college bros in the quad, but as a sport for the world’s greatest athletes.
David Pepin, a sophomore, studies English. He is a copy editor for Le Provocateur.