Olympic Sport: What Are The Requirements For Inclusion?

Why are some sports included in Olympic competitions and others not? We talk about it here.
Olympic sport: what are the requirements for inclusion?

Perhaps you are surprised that very popular disciplines, such as rugby, are not featured in the Olympic Games. This is due to the fact that, in order to be able to speak of Olympic sport, a sporting discipline must respect certain rules. Find out what they are in this article.

Non-Olympic sport: disciplines that stand out for their absence

Perhaps you have followed several editions of the Olympic Games and wondered why a particular sport did not appear in the competition. Some cases stand out more than others, due to their worldwide popularity or their history.

According to the International Olympic Committee, however, they do not have the necessary requirements to be included in the largest sporting event in the world. The disciplines that today do not fall within the definition of “Olympic sport” are:

1. Motoring

Although it is still a matter of debate and many are wondering if motors are really a sport, the truth is that drivers have to train a lot, both physically and mentally, to compete.

As for their participation in the Olympics, the only exception was the 1900 edition, when there were car and motorcycle racing as an exhibition. This is the only isolated case. Even motorcycling is not an Olympic sport these days.

2. Karate

Although it will be present in the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games, it will be an exceptional case. For the next edition, Paris 2024, it will not be included in the list of accepted sports.

The absence of karate in Olympic competitions is the subject of numerous controversies, given that it is the second most practiced martial art in the world. The first, which is taekwondo, and the third, judo, and they are both Olympic disciplines.

Child doing karate.  Olympic sports requirements.

3. Polo

Polo was played in five editions of the Olympic Games (1900, 1908, 1920, 1924 and 1936), but was later eliminated from competitions. The same has not happened with other equestrian sports, such as show jumping or training.

4. Baseball as an Olympic game

Also in this case a sport that was Olympic only for a short time, to be exact between Barcelona 1992 and Beijing 2008. Negotiations are still going on for baseball to be included in the tests again ; for the moment, it will return to Tokyo 2021, but it is not known for how long.

5. Rugby

It is one of the most curious cases of non-Olympic sports, as in the Paris 1900 edition it was the one that received the most presence from the public. Rugby also participated in the games of 1908, 1920 and 1924, but has not been allowed to return since.

Other non-Olympic sports today include American football, billiards, skating, surfing, 5-a-side football, frontón, Basque ball, sumo, motorboat racing, cricket and golf.

What are the requirements for an Olympic sport?

It is not enough that the discipline in question is practiced in the organizing country or that it has thousands of fans all over the world. It is not even enough that it raises millions or that it features athletes of all ages. The requirements of the International Olympic Committee to promote a sport to Olympic (or to consider the case) are :

1. Be supported by an international federation

This association must also comply with the regulations of the Olympic Charter and apply the World Anti-Doping Code. The first consists of 110 pages in which all the rules for the disciplines, the organization of the games and the athletes are listed.

2. Be widely practiced

The sport that aspires to become Olympic or that wants to maintain its status must have a minimum number of adhesions: 75 countries in four continents with male sporting presence and 40 countries in three continents with regard to female participation.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics banner.

3. Specific criteria for an Olympic sport

The International Olympic Committee obliges sports to comply with certain codes of ethics, gender equality, budget, information coverage, age of athletes and strategic plans.

4. Every Olympic sport must be approved by vote

A sport can be nominated for the Olympic category on multiple occasions until it is approved. For this purpose, the executive council of the International Olympic Committee must vote three years before the next edition of the Olympics.

This means that the sports that were not admitted in 2017 will not be present in the Tokyo 2020 edition. However, they have the possibility of being elected until 2021 for participation in Paris 2024.

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