Now that the 2016 Summer Olympics have concluded, I’m reflecting on the entertaining sports that I had never seen played at a competitive level and thoroughly enjoyed watching during the games (shout out to rugby sevens and handball).
So this peaked my interest about Pickleball. If badminton and canoe sprinting can make it into the largest sporting event in the world, is it possible that my beloved Pickleball becomes the next Olympic sport of the future? I know you’re thinking it took golf 112 years to come back to the Olympics, so why should we choose a sport that no one knows anything about?
First, it’s already a hybrid of three current Olympic sports (table tennis, badminton and tennis), it’s been around for 50 years, and now is on the rise throughout the country. Second, anyone can participate, but you’ll see the majority of players between the ages of 50 – 90. Believe me, age doesn’t matter in this sport. These athletes are competitive when they’re out on the courts. And third, how cool would it be to see active seniors competing in the Olympics?
Can I dream of one day standing on an Olympic podium, tears streaming down my face as they play the National Anthem (I cry when other Americans are awarded the medal, so it’s assumed I’ll sob when I’m on the podium)? I have access to lessons, competitions, and tournaments, which then can probably lead to regionals, sectionals, and national tournaments the way most sports progress. I have a ranking and I’m member of the USAPA. According to the International Olympic Committee, the 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo are adding baseball, softball, karate, skateboard, sports climbing and surfing. So yes, Pickleball fans, there is hope for us to dream of the 2024 summer games. In the meantime, I’ll be out practicing my dinks and lobs. Go Team USA Pickleball.
Check out these videos to give you an idea of the fierce competitions.
Last point of the Women’s Doubles 50+ GOLD medal match
US Open Pickleball Championship