The Ultimate Showdown: Will Pickleball Make Its Olympic Debut?

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The Ultimate Showdown: Will Pickleball Make Its Olympic Debut?

8 min read

The Ultimate Showdown: Will Pickleball Make Its Olympic Debut?

Hey there, pickleball fanatics and enthusiasts! We're about to embark on a thrilling adventure as we tackle the burning question on everyone's minds: Will pickleball serve its way into the prestigious realm of the Olympics?


With so much interest in one of the fastest-growing sports in the US, it only makes sense to see if we can expand to the international headlining platform of the Olympic games. Get ready to rally and dive into the captivating world of pickleball as we explore its Olympic aspirations.


Is Pickleball an Olympic Sport?


Now, before we start spiking those expectations, let's take a swing at understanding the current state of pickleball in the Olympic universe. Will this paddle-wielding phenomenon be granted the honor of Olympic glory? Let's find out!


Unfortunately, the answer is no. Pickleball is not currently a recognized sport in either the Summer or Winter Olympic Games. While there is plenty of interest for this fantastic sport to get added, it has yet to reach full approval by all the governing bodies it needs to move through.


Who Decides if Pickleball is in the Olympics?


Picture this: an Olympic jury carefully considering the merits of our beloved sport. In the pickleball Olympics realm, the decision-makers hold the key to our hopes and dreams. Let's meet the power players who have a say in pickleball's Olympic destiny.


  • International Olympic Committee(IOC): The ultimate gatekeepers of the Olympic Games. Their discerning eyes scrutinize every aspect of potential Olympic sports, including pickleball. The IOC, comprised of influential sporting figures from around the world, is responsible for overseeing the Olympic movement and making crucial decisions regarding the inclusion of new sports. Their rigorous evaluation process considers factors such as global popularity, participation levels, media coverage, and the sport's alignment with Olympic values.
  • International Federation(IF): Oversees pickleball's global development. They play a pivotal role in determining if pickleball is fit for the Olympic stage. The pickleball Olympic sports movement relies on their recognition and support. The IF acts as the governing body for pickleball, ensuring standardized rules and regulations, organizing international competitions, and promoting the sport's growth. To gain recognition from the IF, pickleball associations and federations need to demonstrate widespread participation, global reach, and a solid organizational structure.
  • National Olympic Committees(NOCs): They champion the inclusion of sports like pickleball. Their voices and influence can significantly impact whether our beloved game gets its shot at Olympic glory. NOCs represent their respective countries in the Olympic Games and have the power to nominate sports for inclusion. They consider factors such as national interest, participation levels, and the potential for success on the international stage. The involvement of NOCs is crucial for pickleball to gain recognition and support within their respective nations.
  • Olympic Games Organizing Committees(OGOCs): The host country's committee wields power and can advocate for new and exciting sports to be added to the Olympic lineup. The OGOCs, responsible for organizing and hosting the Olympic Games, have the opportunity to shape the sporting program. Collaborating with the IOC, they evaluate new sports and events proposals. The OGOCs of future host countries could play a pivotal role in showcasing pickleball on the Olympic stage.


How Does a Sport Get into the Olympics?


You're probably wondering, "How on earth does a sport make its way onto the Olympic stage?" It's a journey filled with twists, turns, and, of course, plenty of volleys. Let's uncover the steps pickleball must navigate to become an Olympic event.


One potential stepping stone for pickleball is the coveted demonstration sport status. Just like a pickleball lob that catches opponents off guard, this status allows sports to showcase their skills and win over hearts during the Olympic Games. Could we witness a dazzling display of pickleball prowess on the grandest stage of them all?


Demonstration sports offer a taste of the potential Olympic experience, providing athletes and fans a glimpse of what the sport could bring to the games. While not yet eligible for medals, demonstration sports have the opportunity to capture attention, generate excitement, and prove their worthiness for full inclusion.


Furthermore, passionate pickleball enthusiasts and sports associations worldwide are banding together, launching inclusion campaigns to bring their beloved game to the forefront. They aim to secure that coveted Olympic spot with dedication, persistence, and a sprinkle of pickleball magic.


These inclusion campaigns involve targeted lobbying efforts, collaboration with national and international governing bodies, and raising awareness about pickleball's unique qualities and widespread popularity. Pickleball enthusiasts have taken to social media, organized petitions, and leveraged influential voices to amplify the sport's Olympic aspirations.


What Kind of Sport is Pickleball?


What sets pickleball apart? Players engage in lightning-fast rallies, defying gravity with their agility and finesse. The rules are simple to follow for players and viewers. That makes pickleball an addictive whirlwind of strategy, power shots, and adrenaline-pumping action.


Pickleball is played on a smaller court than tennis, making it easier to navigate and creating an intimate and engaging playing environment. The sport can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels, making it inclusive and suitable for both recreational and competitive play.


Are there any Plans for Pickleball to be an Olympic Event?


Hold onto your paddles, folks, because the buzz surrounding pickleball's Olympic aspirations is getting louder. The pickleball Olympics movement is gaining momentum, with pickleball associations and federations working tirelessly to gain international recognition.


As the governing body for the sport, the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) has been actively pursuing recognition from the IOC and promoting pickleball's inclusion in the Olympic program. By showcasing the sport's growth, global reach, and competitive standards, they aim to demonstrate that pickleball has what it takes to be an Olympic event.


Exhibition matches allow pickleball to shine in front of Olympic officials, sports enthusiasts, and potential sponsors. These high-profile showcases generate excitement, highlight the sport's unique qualities, and contribute to the growing global interest in pickleball.


As soon as the IFP is recognized as the “official governing body” of pickleball, they can begin to leverage the IOC for Olympic status. Right now, that means getting exhibition and demo games in front of eyes in Paris 2024, L.A 2028, and Brisbane 2032. There is a good chance that the event will be added after Brisbane, but it will be up to the IOC and the sport's international popularity.


Dreaming of Competing? Start with the Perfect Pickleball Paddle!


Now that we've stoked your Olympic pickleball dreams, it's time to gear up and get ready for the ultimate showdown. Choosing the perfect pickleball paddle is crucial if you aspire to compete at the highest level. It's your trusty companion on the court, your secret weapon in your quest for glory. So, make sure you pick the paddle that perfectly suits your style, grip, and skill level.


We highly recommend you pick up the P-One Elongated pickleball paddle from Nicol. This is a professional-level paddle that offers a fantastic sweet spot, greater grip for one-handed and two-handed players, and a polymer HexCore honeycomb core surrounded by frosted carbon fiber. You’ll be on your way to learning everything you can for the moment pickleball becomes an Olympic sport!




As we wrap up this exhilarating pickleball journey, remember that Rome wasn't built in a day, and Olympic dreams aren't realized overnight. The road to Olympic greatness for pickleball is paved with passion, dedication, and a global community that refuses to back down.


While we may not see pickleball at the next Olympics, the sport's growing popularity and unwavering enthusiasm offer a promising foundation for future Olympic aspirations. So, let's keep our paddles at the ready, and our hearts filled with hope as pickleball serves its way towards the ultimate showdown on the world's grandest sporting stage. Get your game face on, pickleballers, because the future holds exciting possibilities!