More Than A Far-Off Dream: Ultimate’s Rising Olympic Fortunes

It’s hard to overstate just how remarkable it is that ultimate has an actual chance of being included in the Olympics already. Five years ago, it was a distant dream; USA Ultimate hired Tom Crawford to help to just start rolling the ball up the hill. Now, here is ultimate: IOC-recognized, USOC-recognized, and sitting on a list of sports that could be included in the 2020 Olympics.

When I talked to WFDF President Nob Rauch this morning, he mentioned that we talked for the very first time about three years ago. I wrote a story: “Will Ultimate Ever Become An Olympic Sport?” Rauch mentioned just what an unbelievable change it’s been since then.

Look at what was said at the time. USAU’s Andy Lee said Ultimate wouldn’t be in the Olympics for “20 to 30 years, if at all.” Rauch called that prediction “optimistic” and said it would “take a generation, if not two.”

How things have changed. Because of the overhaul of the IOC’s process for adding new sports (and the removal of the cap of the number of disciplines), suddenly ultimate has a chance. And if Tokyo decides they want to watch their fantastic ultimate teams go for gold, we could actually be watching ultimate on NBC five years from today.

  1. Charlie Eisenhood
    Charlie Eisenhood

    Charlie Eisenhood is the editor-in-chief of Ultiworld. You can reach him by email ( or on Twitter (@ceisenhood).

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