Pickleball is one of the most popular sports these days. At least more than 3 million pickleball players across America. With its development that has reached Canada, France, Spain, and even India, pickleball is one of the new sports that has achieved rapid growth. Does this figure interest the IOC to include it in the Olympics?
Introducing Pickleball As A Competitive Sports
Pickleball is a sport similar to tennis and ping pong. It was discovered in 1965 when a group of people was looking for an alternative to playing badminton because they couldn’t find a shuttlecock. This prank game then became a competitive game 50 years later.
Pickleball is played in an arena the size of a badminton court. You can play singles or doubles. Other necessary equipment is a pair of pickleball paddles, a ball, and a net. Each team that wins the ball is entitled to serve with a calculation of 11 points per set and using the best of 3 system.
Will Pickleball be Included In The Olympics?
If we look at the development of the Olympic Pickleball scene, there may be good news. The existence of the International Federation of Pickleball or IFP makes it easier for people looking for a career in this sport. With the most rapid development in North America and parts of Europe, the 2024 Paris Olympics may be the first time pickleball makes its debut.
At the 2020 Japanese Olympics, the IOC added 5 sports. They include karate, surfing, sport climbing, baseball/softball, and skateboarding. They are not a very popular sport but rather a specialty.
The 2028 Olympics opens up even greater possibilities because they are held in Los Angeles, United States. As the country where pickleball was born, the opportunity to develop this sport for the IOC to see is very wide open. At least IFP can make pickleball better known throughout the world to attract more fans outside North America.
If we can give advice, IFP can do more interesting marketing strategies in this sport. For example, showing matches on TV or video channels or creating tournaments with attractive prizes, and posting videos on social media. Of course, the more people know about pickleball, the more chance for pickleball will be in the Olympic Sport.
Reasons Why Pickleball Is Not Registered As An Olympic Sport
The International Olympic Committee or IOC has requirements for a sport to enter the Olympics. At least 75 men from 4 continents must play the sport or 40 women from 3 continents. If you look at these conditions, it seems that pickleball has not been able to enter. But if we look further, the rapid development of pickleball in various countries may soon attract the IOC’s interest.
Also, pickleball is not a special name or more like a combination of two words. Unlike net sports that already have popularity in the Olympics such as badminton or tennis. Pickleball gameplay is still similar to tennis.
Maybe you’ll find this interesting: “Facts About Pickleball You Might Not Know (trivia, fun facts, history)”
What Are The Requirements For A Sport To Be Registered As Olympic Competition?
We will discuss further the terms and conditions regarding sports that can enter the Olympics. There are several main requirements and special conditions determined by the IOC so that a sport is eligible to be contested. If you want to become an administrator at IFP, maybe you can use some of these things as a reference.
The first condition as we mentioned is that the number of players is 75 male players on 4 continents and 40 female players on 3 continents. It aims to build a competitive sport and can be played by many competing countries.
The second condition is that the sport must have a non-governmental international organization. Its function is to make official rules that must be obeyed for an official competition. In this case, pickleball seems to have fulfilled this requirement.
Then the next requirement is to ensure that the sport follows the program of the Olympic Anti-Doping Movement. As we know, doping is a serious problem in the world of sports that can undermine healthy competition.
If you don’t know doping is the use of certain drugs or chemicals to drastically increase the stamina of athletes. This is prohibited because it interferes with sportsmanship, and the use of inappropriate drugs can damage the function of other body parts.
Another requirement is that this sport must be attractive and not a game that relies purely on the mind like chess. Although pickleball is also a sport that started as a game, it has transformed into a physical sport that can be compared to other net games. So this condition may also not be a problem.
In addition, the IOC will also consider the host’s readiness to add new sports. This includes supporting facilities and field availability. This will also affect the audience rating that can be obtained to support its popularity. And the IOC reserves the right to exclude sports if they are deemed not to be commercially attractive.
If the above terms and conditions have been met, the international federation of the sport can register the sport. The IOC only needs to delete old sports that have no fans and include yours if it feels more promising.
Pickleball is a new sport that was invented in the United States. This sport developed in America but has not entered into a sport at the Olympics. There are several records such as the popularity of players outside America which are still lacking. There are many ways to improve this sport such as utilizing social media and adding tournaments.