Is Pickleball A Olympic Sport? IOC’s Criteria for Adding New Sports

What is pickleball? Is pickleball a Olympic Sport or not? The correct answers will be revealed in this article! Read it right away!

Playing pickleball

Playing pickleball (*)



Pickleball is an exciting activity to do. It is known as a rope that pulls people together.

Because pickleball shares some similar traits with badminton, ping pong, and tennis, some people convinced themselves that pickleball is an Olympic sport, but many opinions say that it is not.

What about you? What do you think? Is pickleball a Olympic sport or not? If you have not had the answer yet, then read this article! We will give you the correct answer!

What is Pickleball?

Pickleball is a type of physical paddle activity. In further detail, this sport game is played on a court that has the same size as the badminton field. 

People use a tennis net to divide the court into two different halves. The area near the net is known as the non-volley zone (or kitchen area), which does not allow the player to make volley strikes.

In a funny way to say, this sport game is a combination of badminton and tennis, as two teams on two sides of the court will use a paddle to strike the ball over and over till one team fails to hit. 

The cool thing is that every player doesn’t need to run but still hit the ball.

Because the sport requires less mobility, it is suitable for children, adults, and older people. In fact, due to the game rules, senior players can even play fairly with their young opponents.

What is pickleball

What is pickleball? (**)

What Kind Of Sports Pickleball Is?

Pickleball is not only a type of unique, easy to learn but also a healthy sport that breaks the barrier of economic as well as social.

The equipment for this game is not expensive, so anyone can play it.

Besides, the players can enjoy the game anywhere, whether it is indoor areas like rooms, clubhouses, or outdoor areas like schools, parks, stations, etc.

On the other hand, pickle minimizes athletic actions. Instead, it requires the players to have high ingenuity and agility.

As a result, people of all ages can enjoy the game without any difficulty.

So, is pickleball a Olympic sport? Unfortunately, our answer is no.

Because this game borrows many factors from other sports such as paddle from badminton, ball from table tennis, net from tennis, etc., the game is considered unusual.

Also, pickleball has still not met some criteria of IOC for adding new Olympic sports. One criterion that we can tell is popularity.

According to the IOC rule, a sport that is determined as an Olympic sport must be played in a minimum number of 75 nations on four different continents (for male sport), or 40 nations on four different continents (for female sport).

Even though pickleball is famous in the U.S, the game is unknown in several other countries, for example, in Asian.

IOC’s Criteria for Including New Sports?

IOC's Criteria for pickleball

IOC’s Criteria for pickleball (***)

If you want to learn more about the IOC’s criteria for adding new sports into the Olympic games, then this section is for you!

Here, we explain the requirement that a physical activity must meet in order to be considered an Olympic sport.

#1: The Sport Must Have A Regulation Approved By A Nonprofit Organization.

The physical activity that is suggested to be an Olympic sport must first have regulation by an NGO.

This regulation contains many important details such as the law of the sport, or the law for updating the sport, etc.

You may ask why this regulation is so essential like that, right?

The reason is, when taking part in the Olympic, all the nations must agree to follow the same rules, instead of their local rules.

Of course, this regulation will be the standard game law that brings fairness to all countries. 

#2: The Sport Must Follow The Olympic Movement Anti-doping Code.

Again, for the fairness in competition, the sport must meet the standard of the Olympic Movement Anti-Doping Code. 

More specifically, the code explains that every member must not use drugs or any energy-enhancing medicines (Doping) to play the game.

If the activity requires the players to use Doping, it will never be considered an Olympic sport.

#3: Standard Of Popularity.

As we have mentioned above, the sport must be popular in many different countries.

Specifically, if the activity is a male sport, it must be played in 75 countries in 4 separate continents.

On the other hand, if it is a female sport, it must be played in 40 nations in 4 distinct continents.

#4: The Ability To Host Of The Home Country.

The home nation must provide enough facilities that meet the standard for the sport to be played—for example, fields, equipment, referee, cameras, etc.

Even if the activity is an Olympic sport, the home nation can not provide enough facilities, and it will be removed from the game list.

#5: The Sport Must Be Competitive.

The Olympics can be seen as a business or commercial activity, and require sports have competitiveness enough to increase the number of viewers.

If the sport can attract many viewers, the Olympic organization will be able to make a lot of money.

Will Pickleball be ever Considered An Olympic Sport?

It’s awful to say that pickleball has very little chance to become an Olympic sport at the moment.

The game does not have competitiveness, as it is just a healthy and fun sport to play. 

In addition, pickleball is still not played widely in many countries.

However, the IFP (International Federation of Pickleball) is attempting to bring the sport into the Olympics.

Probably, the rules will be changed in the future, so that the game can be more competitive. 

Plus, pickleball is now spreading to many countries other than the U.S.A. Therefore, we can expect a pickleball game in the Olympics in the future.

Further reading:

Image sources

(*): Havard Health Publishing – Havard Medical School

(**): Keremeos Review

(***): The Nation

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