Ultimate’s Olympic dreams have been dealt a blow.
August 10, 2022 by Charlie Eisenhood in News with comments
After a decade of efforts to be included in the program for the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Ultimate was quietly dropped from consideration last month by the tournament’s organizing committee.
The Spanish newspaper Marca was first to report the nine sports – baseball and softball, break dancing, cricket, flag football, karate, kickboxing, lacrosse, motorsport and squash – which are still under consideration. Each Olympic Games is now able to add a small number of additional sports to its programme. Tokyo 2020 added baseball and softball, karate, sport climbing, skateboarding and surfing; Paris 2024 adds surfing, sport climbing, skateboarding and break dancing.
Ultimate was one of many sports vying for a spot on LA’s schedule, which is expected to largely include baseball and softball. Surfing, skateboarding and sport climbing have already been announced as inclusions. It’s a blow to the Olympic hopes of Ultimate that the sport doesn’t even deserve to be on the list of sports that have been asked to make a final proposal to the LA28 Organizing Committee.
“[The World Flying Disc Federation] is surprised and disappointed not to have been included in the shortlist of potential additional sports invited to submit a proposal for inclusion in the 2028 Olympic Program,” said WFDF President Robert “Nob” Rauch. in a report. “The sport of flying disc is actively played at a competitive level in 103 countries around the world and appears to meet all of the objective criteria agreed between the IOC and LA28. These criteria included not adding cost and complexity to games using the full site sharing on the beach or grass stadium, to have full gender equality with our balanced mixed format, to have a youth appeal and to ensure that the best athletes were involved. few other sports can boast a Californian DNA equivalent to Frisbee and we thought our Ultimate 4s format requiring a total athlete quota of just 48 would be a good fit given the Games overall cap.
Ultimate’s biggest organizations – WFDF and USA Ultimate – have been pushing for Olympic inclusion for years. The WFDF was recognized by the International Olympic Committee in 2015, a year after the USAU was recognized by the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee. The USAU hired longtime CEO Tom Crawford in large part because of his ties to the Olympic world, and in the past he has brought in contract extensions if Ultimate is on the Olympic schedule.
The next Summer Olympics after Los Angeles will be in 2032 in Brisbane, Australia, 10 years from now. Australia has a strong Ultimate scene, but LA was widely seen as the Games most likely to deliver the Ultimate its first appearance. Absent further changes to the Olympic structure or a lifting of the current athlete cap, Ultimate remains a long way to go to enter the Olympic program.