Is Wakeboarding an Olympic Sport? Let’s Find Out!

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Being a wakeboarding fan, it’s only natural to find yourself wondering, “is wakeboarding an Olympic sport?”

During its first days, right after it was invented in the 1980s, wakeboarding was named skurfing. It also used binding-less hand-shaped boards that were designed to be towed by motorboats.

As time went on, people wakeboarding started to become more popular and people would start using bindings and eventually stopped skurfing in favor of wakeboarding. Now, the question is; how popular is this sport? And is wakeboarding an Olympic sport?

Nowadays, wakeboarding is a lot more varied than it used to be. It involves various offshoots and styles such as wakeskating and kneeboarding to name a few examples. However, wakeboarding still hasn’t been in the Olympics just yet.

So, the short answer to your question “is wakeboarding an Olympic sport?” is no. If you’re looking for a longer answer, keep reading!

Wakeboarding Was Proposed to the IOC to Be in 2020 Olympics

Due to the sport gaining a lot of traction and fans in such a short time, cable wakeboarding was in fact proposed to the IOC to be in the 2020 Olympics.

This type of wakeboarding is a bit different from the traditional style where riders are towed behind a motorboat. The great thing about cable wakeboarding is the fact that you don’t have to get a motorboat. It is much more accessible and cheaper which makes it more appealing to newcomers.

There was also an attempt by the Greek National Organizing Committee to add wakeboarding for the Athens Games in 2004. However, due to the limitations of the number of events that could be hosted, wakeboarding had to be cast aside.

With that said, it is a bummer as wakeboarding is an exhilarating sport. It is as fun to participate in as it is to watch. By including it into the Olympics, it could gain even more fans than it already has.

There IS interest

During the last Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, the TV ratings for Snowboarding half-pipe were the higher out of all the other events. Seeing how Snowboarding and Wakeboarding can attract similar demographics, it should be a no brainer to include Wakeboarding in the Olympics. It would also be safe to assume that it will be a big success in terms of viewership and TV ratings.

With that said Wakeboarding was not the only sport proposed for the 2020 Olympics. It had to compete with Karate, Roller Sports, Squash, Sport Climbing, Wushu, and Baseball/Softball. Unfortunately, we will not be seeing Cable Wakeboarding in the 2020 Olympics.

Is There Still Hope for the 2024 Olympics?

The Paris Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games announced back on the 27th of Feb 2019 that cable wakeboarding didn’t earn a place on the preliminary list of additional sports for the 2024 Olympics.

Out of the other nineteen sports that were presented to the OCOG, those who have made it to the preliminary shortlist include sports that will be part of the 2020 Tokyo Games. A couple of examples are Sport Climbing, Surfing, and Skateboarding. It’s also worth noting that Break Dancing also made the list.

There’s still hope

Even though it might sound like a crushing blow for Cable Wakeboarding, not all hope is lost. The final decision is still up to the IOC selection committee that will be made in December 2020. Hopefully, we’ll be able to see Cable Wakeboarding make it to the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Patrice Martin, the president of the French Waterski and Wakeboard Federation said they are still planning on bringing cable wakeboarding to competitors in urban settings. Patrice also stated that they are still planning to build a new cable wakeboard park in Paris and intend on having it ready and operational by 2020. This new cable park will also be used to host some major competitions according to Patrice

The news that cable wakeboarding wasn’t immediately proposed for inclusion in the 2024 Summer Olympic Games was especially disappointing for Sanne Meijer. She was the IWWF World Cable Wakeboard Champion in 2014. With that said, she still has hope that the sport will eventually be seen in the Olympics and that she will continue to work just as hard to make sure the sport continues to evolve and become bigger.

On the bright side, Cable Wakeboarding will be included in the Southeast Asian Games this November, which takes place in the Philippines. Additionally, it will also be included in the Asian Beach Games in China next December so we’ll be looking forward to that.

How Are Sports Chosen for the Olympics?

The Olympics games have evolved into something much bigger than it was in its infancy. It expanded from 241 to over 10,000 competitors ever since its reestablishment in Athens with 1896 Games. They have seen numerous changes and additions, with close to 100 events added since 1980 alone!

However, with the growing interest of people, and the ever-expanding number of sports all around the globe, it can be very hard to satisfy everyone and include all the sports. For those who are curious about the process of how sports are chosen for the Olympics, here’s how it goes.

First things first

First of all, in order for anything to become an Olympic sport, it has to be recognized as a sport from the IOC, or International Olympic Committee. This requires that the activity has administration by an international NGO that oversees a minimum of one other sport.

After that is done, the sport moves to the International Sports Federation status. This is when the NGO has to enforce the Olympic Movement Anti-Doping Code. This includes the conduction of effective out-of-competition tests on the competitors all the while maintaining rules set beforehand by the Olympic Charter.

With that said, just gaining IOC recognition won’t guarantee that the sport will become a competing event at the Olympic Games. A couple of examples of this would be Chess and Bowling. Both are recognized sports, but they are not competing events in the Olympics.

Some paperwork is needed

In order for a sport to become part of the Olympic Games, its IF has to file a petition to apply for admittance – one that clearly establishes its criteria of eligibility to the IOC. Then, it is up to the IOC to admit the activity into the Olympic program. It can either be admitted as a sport, as a discipline, or as an event. A discipline is a branch of a sport, and an event is a competition within a discipline.

To give an example of a sport, triathlon was admitted as a sport which debuted at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. As for disciplines, Women’s Wrestling is a discipline in the sport of Wrestling at the Athens Games. As for events, Women’s Pole Vaulting started in Sydney as a track-and-field event.

One thing to note is that the rules of admittance will vary depending on whether it’s a sport, discipline, or event.

More requirements

After the IF presents its petition, some rules and regulations will determine whether or not the sport will take part in the Olympics. It is stated by the Olympic Charter that in order for a sport to be accepted, it has to be practiced by men in a minimum of 75 countries spanning four continents and by women in at least 40 countries. The sport must also contribute to increasing the “value and appeal” of the Olympic Games and retain as well as reflect its modern traditions.

There are many rules and it would take a long time to cite them all here, but an example would be a ban on purely “mind sports” as well as sports that rely on mechanical propulsion. This is why you don’t see Chess and Automobile Racing in the Olympics.

Recently, the Olympics is trying to keep the scope of the Games reasonable by periodically reviewing sports and events that have already been in the Olympics in order to allow for the emergence of new sports and increase the variety of events.

The Olympic Programme Commission states that there have been problems with findings venues for sports with special needs. Examples of this include softball and baseball, which were later discontinued after the 2008 Beijing Games.

Media and public interest

When choosing which sports to include in the Olympics, the IOC has must take into account the media and public interest. Many other factors come into play when choosing which sports to include in the games.

With that said the Olympics are all about uniting the world under the banner of sports and showing their beauty. Sports come and go and just because your favorite sport didn’t make it on one occasion, it doesn’t mean that you will never see it again.

Aquatics at the Olympics

Aquatics is considered a sporting discipline at the Olympics. It includes the sports of diving, swimming, synchronized swimming, and water polo. It is regulated by the International Swimming Federation which is the international federation for aquatic sports. Swimming is contested at every Summer Olympic Games, the others are introduced later on.

Keep in mind that when categorizing sports and counting the number of sports at the Olympics, aquatics are considered as one sport. The following four sports are considered one sport

  • Swimming – This is one of the five sports that are always contested at every Summer Olympics ever since 1896.
  • Water Polo – Water polo has been part of the Olympics ever since its introduction in 1900
  • Synchronized Swimming – First introduced at the 1984 Olympics, there was a solo event held from 1984 to 1992. Only women compete in the Synchronized Swimming events at the Olympics
  • Diving – debuting at the 1904 Olympics, diving has been included in the Games ever since its debut.

Conclusion: Is Wakeboarding an Olympic Sport?

Unfortunately, although it has been considered several times, wakeboarding hasn’t made it to the Olympics yet, despite the increasing popularity of this water sport. That brings us to another question: Is Wakeboarding a Dying Sport?


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