Now that bowlers have witnessed the opening ceremonies and a few events in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver we might be moved to think about why bowling is not an Olympic sport. This argu-ment has raged for years and so far the closest bowling has come to being included in the Olympics was at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul Korea.
It was here that bowling was included as a demonstration sport for the first and only time. In all, a total of 20 nations competed in the exhibition, which was held at the Seoul's Royal Bowling Center.
How does a sport become Olympic?
To become an Olympic sport it must first be recognized as a sport by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The sport is admitted into the Olympic program if the IOC determines that it is widely practiced around the world. Even though these are the basic requirements there are other factors that enter into mak-ing these decisions and the rulings do not seem to be consistently made. For example, synchronized swim-ming and archery are Olympic sports but baseball and golf are not. Some sports have been voted in, voted out and may be voted in again.
It is interesting that bowling is in fact recognized as a sport by the IOC yet it has never been granted entry into the Olympics. This is curious because by all accounts bowling is practiced in nearly 100 countries by over 100 million participants. In most people's minds this alone would qualify bowling to be in-cluded in either the Summer or the Winter games.
By contrast, curling, a funny sport to watch has just a little resemblance to bowling. Yet it is a Winter Olympic event that can be seen this week in Vancouver. This sport is practiced by only 13 million people in America and only in a few states. Most people in the U.S. witness this sport on T.V. just once every four years.
Why bowling is not included in the Olympics?
Many people think bowling should be in the Olympics because it is a competitive sport and widely known around the world. Others think bowling in not really a sport but simply a recreational pastime. Some have argued that bowling is not exciting enough. It does not have that instant captivating thrill of victory or agony of defeat such as you find in track and field, swimming, speed skating, ice skating, skiing and many other sports.
Bowling is slower, more methodical and generally is not a very good spectator sport. Some say bowling does not require physical fitness like a real sport should. The counter to this is that competitive bowlers often bowl 48 games in three days and that requires physical stamina as well as mental exertion. And this is done by repeatedly rolling a heavy 15 or 16 pound ball down a 60 foot slippery lane trying to hit a small area called the pocket with enough power to send 10 pins flying.
Competitive bowlers know that bowling qualifies as a sport and its participants are true athletes. This in-cludes bowlers at all levels—high school, collegiate, international amateurs and professionals.
Does bowling have a chance to get in?
The United States Bowling Congress has made attempts to get bowling into the Olympics to no avail. The Federation Internationale des Quillers, bowling's international body has also tried. This federation was told by Jacques Rogge, the IOC president, that Olympic sports have been approved for future years. For bowling to be added, an approved sport would have to be removed and that is difficult to do.
For the foreseeable future bowling will not become an Olympic sport. Instead bowlers must settle for watching curling and synchronized swimming on TV. Or maybe you prefer beach volleyball in-stead.