Olympic Committee Finally Recognizes Ultimate Frisbee As Real Sport

The sport that was invented as a joke has come quite a long way.

Ultimate Frisbee, a sport that was literally invented as a joke, is now a sport that's eligible for inclusion in the Olympic Games, the IOC announced on Sunday.

The World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF), which serves as the international governing body for disc sports like Ultimate Frisbee, Disc Golf and Guts, has been officially recognized by the IOC. While Ultimate Frisbee won't be showing up at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, this ruling gives the WFDF the opportunity to receive funding and Olympic consideration from the IOC.

This is an incredible milestone in the 30-year history of WFDF and a further important step for our International Federation in the development of our sport worldwide,” WFDF president Robert “Nob” Rauch in a statement. The WFDF currently represents 65 member associations in 62 countries.

Here's the GIF version of what they said:

Ultimate Frisbee was originally invented by famed film producer Joel Silver when he was a student at Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey. He had played a less-organized version of the game at summer camp and once back at school, he proposed its inclusion in the curriculum at a student council meeting in the fall of 1968.

According to a New York Times report in 2008, the motion was passed "as a joke" and soon official rules were drawn up.

It was originally created to be a sport that was an anti-sport,” Anthony Nunez, a 1998 Columbia alumnus and then coach of the school's Ultimate Frisbee team, told The New York Times.

The "anti-sport" has been questioned as a "real sport" since its inception, but with over 5.1 million people playing the game across the United States, according to a 2013 participation study from the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, the sheer participation numbers wash away any credence to the "real sport" debate.

Marques Brownlee, a player on the Columbia High School Ultimate Frisbee team from 2007-2011, spoke to The Huffington Post on the increasing visibility of his sport in recent years.

"It's bloomed a lot like lacrosse in both viewership and number of players. Between the club tournaments and pro leagues, there's way more high-level ultimate to watch for players just starting up today," he said.

Brownlee, who's better known as the top tech reviewer on YouTube, most recently played at the professional level for the New York Rumble of Major League Ultimate. Naturally, he's bullish on the IOC's decision.

"Ultimate would make an excellent Olympic sport," Brownlee said. "Most people who have never watched ultimate seem surprised, but after watching literally any high-level game, I'm sure they'd agree."
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