5 sports that deserve a spot in the Summer Olympics

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Karen Chow/File

Widely practiced in more than 40 countries and three continents, five new sports will enter the Tokyo 2020 Olympics: baseball/softball, karate, skateboarding, sports climbing and surfing. With each showcasing a unique set of skills, it’s optimistic to see that the International Olympics Committee, or IOC, is willing to expand the games.

But there’s always room for more. Hence, here are five additional sports that the IOC should consider adding for the next Summer Olympics in 2024 and 2028. 

  1.   Dodgeball

Though it’s the least popular on this list by viewership, dodgeball is a sport that’s incredibly difficult not to like. The premise is straightforward: Players throw colorful foam balls at each other before they can react in time to catch them. Furthermore, as explained in the 2004 blockbuster “Dodgeball,” to evade elimination is to follow the five “D’s”: “Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive and Dodge.”

As a result, players’ athleticism is often showcased on full display — body contortions, quick reflexes and high vertical leaps make all the difference between sitting on the sidelines or staying on the floor. Whether you’d watch the sport for its marketable simplicity or nostalgic summer camp memories, there’s no denying that dodgeball should have a place in the next Olympic Games.

  1. Bowling

Like dodgeball, bowling is a universally loved sport with a passionate fanbase. The difference between the two? Bowling draws in a much larger audience. About 100 million people regularly bowl in more than 80 countries. More than 20 million people have tuned in to watch a Professional Bowlers Association competition since its genesis. Stars such as Pete Weber, Jason Belmonte and Liz Johnson have all bowled multiple perfect 300 games on television, yet have only recently risen to prominence. It’s about time for them to break into the mainstream.

  1.   American football

In totality, American football in the Olympics makes little to no sense. It’s a relatively complex game to understand for newcomers, it doesn’t have the global popularity of futbol and it’s prohibitively expensive to set up.

Nonetheless, its existing fan base — which is mostly centered around the United States — is fiercely faithful and has the distinct potential to grow exponentially. If and when it’s showcased on a global stage, it’d be difficult to deny the popularity of a team with players such as Patrick Mahomes, Ezekiel Elliott and Julio Jones playing their best to win gold. 

  1.     Ultimate frisbee

Everyone has thrown a frisbee at one point in their life, but few have played the game in its ultimate form. Landing at the No. 2 spot, the sport is sure to be a consistent crowd pleaser — it’s cheap to set up, has lots of moving parts and is fast enough to captivate the attention of pretty much any passerby or spectator. One of its biggest stars and advocates, Marques Brownlee, doubles as a popular technology reviewer on YouTube with more than 14.3 million subscribers. He could be a perfect fit to draw younger audiences to the Olympics, should ultimate frisbee be ultimately considered for 2028.

 

  1.      Cricket

 

When looking at numbers alone, it shouldn’t be any surprise that cricket comes in as the No. 1 spot on this list. In 2019, the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 drew in a cumulative average live audience of 1.6 billion people — an astronomically high figure that makes the Super Bowl pale in comparison. With some of the top international teams hailing from India, Australia and England, cricket also has a sizable number of diversified fandoms across multiple continents. Though some have pointed to the lack of interest in North and South America as a cause for cricket’s absence in the Olympics, such an entry might just be the final push needed to popularize the sport across the entire globe.

Ryan Chien covers women’s soccer. Contact him at [email protected].