Game after game has ultimate frisbee been denied the right to partake in the Olympics. This round was no exception: the World Flying Disk Federation has yet again been informed that the sport will not be accepted at the 2024 Paris Olympics. The unfortunate issue at hand is that a few other unusual sports will, in fact, be part of these historical Games. Some of them include skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing and breakdancing, among of others. These sports will be tested at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, though no one knows for sure how this will all pan out.
“It was a pleasure and honor for WFDF to discuss the possibility of inclusion of Flying Disc sports to the Olympic Games 2024 in the French capital with the Paris 2024 Executive Team members and staff and we thank them for their consideration,” said WFDF President Robert L. “Nob“ Rauch in a statement. “We would like to congratulate the four sports selected for the proposal and we are sure they will make a positive contribution to the Games. We will seek to learn from their experience as we look forward to consideration for inclusion in the Programme of the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.”
Ultimate frisbee was unfortunately not the only sport to have been rejected for Paris 2024. The World Squash Federation is in a similar boat, having tried unsuccessfully to be included in the Olympics for four summer games in a row. This Federation wrote, “the proposed list of four sports only, of which three sports are already confirmed by the IOC on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic program, leads to a belief that Paris 2024 and the IOC favored sports already in the Olympic program, leaving practically no opportunity for other sports.” This is not necessarily unreasonable for the IOC given that it is already a lot to include four new sports in the Games. There may just not be enough support from the infrastructure to manage a fifth.
The main reason why ultimate frisbee didn’t make the cut is quite straightforward: they don’t accept the game to be refereed, instead strongly preferring the idea that every player will play honorably and according to the rules. According to WA Ultimate, “the overriding rule of the sport, called the Spirit of the Game (SOTG) – encourages players to play fairly and within the rules. SOTG sees participants involved in many differing situations of leadership and conflict resolution that can often be related to everyday life.” It is perhaps this mentality that the Olympic committee disliked enough to exclude ultimate frisbee from the Paris Games.
This all seems rather unjust, if only because ultimate frisbee is already played on so many different levels including national and international events. It seems only natural that the transition to the Olympics happen just as smoothly. Ultimate has come a long way since frisbee was only about spinning a flying disk among groups of friends during picnics. Today’s level of play is beyond intense but maintains the level of fair play that is so crucial to the game itself.
Unfortunately for the World Flying Disk Federation, they will have to look to the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games for their next opportunity at finally being accepted as Olympians. The fact that ultimate is quite popular in Los Angeles brings hope to the community. That the sport has been recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is a big step towards being allowed to compete in the Games, something that players and fans alike have been looking forward to seeing for many years.