There has been a lot of discussion recently surrounding the Olympic movement and what the chances are that ultimate will be included in 2024. The chances are very good.
However, it all hinges on the frisbee community working together rather than being divided.
What do I mean by this? Well, when the IOC recognized the World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF) on August 2, 2015, that meant that they recognized the sport of flying disc and all of the disciplines that WFDF governs – ultimate, beach ultimate, disc golf, freestyle, guts and the overall (7 disciplines).
This also means that each national federation governed by WFDF would now be responsible for governing all of the flying disc disciplines in each country. Some of the federations were already set up no problem (for example the Australian Flying Disc Federation). Some federations were not (Ultimate Canada).
But it’s important to understand that the IOC, the IWGA (World Games), ANOC (for the World Beach Games) and so on, all view frisbee as the umbrella and all of the other disciplines as being under that umbrella.
That means that if we continue to have ultimate only organizations (even if just in name) than we could lose our IOC recognition.
Think of it like track and field or swimming. Although there are many disciplines in track and swimming, they are all governed by the same body.
Why does this matter?
There are many people who think that ultimate should have it’s own world organization and that ultimate isn’t like disc golf or freestyle or guts. In fact, if you’re reading this, that might be your opinion.
But, in the eyes of the global bodies of sport, flying disc is comprised of multiple disciplines. You can find out more about each discipline at http://www.agelessgame.com.
At the WFDF, we’re going to be coming out with videos and articles explaining this in more depth.
To be clear, we are in a really great position right now in the world of sport. We can get ultimate in the Olympics. Beach Ultimate is in the 2019 ANOC World Beach Games. Disc golf is exploding worldwide (in Finland, there are 1,000 ultimate players and 100,000 disc golfers). We can do so much. But we need to work together.
That doesn’t mean that everyone needs to play every discipline. It doesn’t mean that everyone needs to throw a different type of disc. It just means that we need to acknowledge that other disciplines exist and that they are all part of the sport of flying disc.
So many players and organizations talk about Spirit of the Game and promote it to their athletes and sponsors. At it’s core, what does Spirit of the game promote and encourage? Understanding and a willingness to listen.
It will hurt the future of ultimate if the ultimate community does not accept the other disciplines and tries to push to have ultimate as the only one.
*Disclaimer: I am the WFDF Director of Global Communications and also known as Frisbee Rob & Ultimate Rob. I started throwing in 2000, playing ultimate in 2001, playing disc golf in 2010, dog disc and overall in 2011.*