Pickleball is a rapidly growing sport, combining table tennis, badminton, racquetball, and squash. It has become one of the fastest-growing sports in the world, and is played in multiple countries. Due to its growing popularity and player base, you might be wondering, is pickleball in the Olympics?
Is Pickleball an Olympic sport?
No, pickleball is not an Olympic sport. Despite gaining popularity in countries like the United States, Spain, Canada, Finland, the United Kingdom, India, and more, pickleball has yet to be brought to the Olympics. However, not all hope is lost, as pickleball does meet some of the criteria to become an Olympics sport.
Mainly, it has an International nongovernmental body that governs the sport's activities, the International Pickleball Association (IPA). Further, the game is also easy to set up for any country that might be hosting the Olympics, as it doesn’t require a fancy new facility and necessary equipment like the best pickleball paddles is readily available.
When is Pickleball Going to be in the Olympics?
As the game keeps growing, more people start asking, is pickleball in the Olympics? While it isn't there yet, there is some hope that it will eventually make it to the biggest international stage. But the question is when? Lots of supporters have made different projections, with some even hoping it’d be added into the 2020 Olympics, which was rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and now set for 2021.
Some have predicted 2024, while others 2028. All in all, the fact remains that in order for pickleball to be added to the Olympics, more countries have to play the game. One of the major criteria for a game to be in the Olympics is that it has to be played by 70 countries for men in at least four continents, and 30 countries for women in three continents.
So before pickleball can become and Olympic sport, it’ll need to continue to grow internationally.
How Did Pickleball Get Started?
Pickleball was created by three families who were looking for a new sport to play together. Using a badminton court, they intended to play badminton but couldn't find a shuttlecock. So they improvised and modified what they knew, combining table tennis, tennis, ping pong, and badminton, creating what would later be called pickleball. As it is called, pickleball got its name from one of the three men's dogs named Pickle, who was always eager to find the ball any time it was played out of bounds.
Commonly played by older athletes looking to stay active, the game is less physical than other racquet sports and does not involve as much running and quick movement compared to other sports. It’s also a social game, allowing interaction between the players because the two sides of the court are not too far from one another. Pickleball can be played in Singles or Doubles, making it a game that couples enjoy together. Further, pickleball is one of the few sports that can be played by both males and females at a time.
Pickleball is a fun sport that’s enjoyed by many, so it’s only natural for players to wonder, is pickleball in the Olympics? Unfortunately, it’s not quite there yet, but does have a clear path to get there one day. Everyday players can help by creating awareness among their community. Aside from this, IPA's conscious effort is expected to help grow the sport through advertisements and influencers to promote pickleball far and wide and hopefully make it an Olympic sport.