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Can Pickleball Become an Olympic Sport in 2024 or 2028? Let's Find Out!

Pickleball is not an Olympic sport at the moment. This could change for the 2024 Paris Olympics or the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, though a status change for 2024 is a stretch.

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How do sports qualify to be an Olympic Sport?

A sport must be played in 75 countries across four continents for men's competition and 40 countries on three continents for women's competition to be recognized by the IOC, the governing body of the Olympic Games, and the people who draft the Olympic requirements.

You can bet that the pro players on tour really want it to become an officially recognized sport by the IOC. You can't tell us that Ben Johns or Tyson McGuffin don't want a shot at a gold medal.

The same goes for high profile Pickleball brands when it comes to merchandising deals and the expansion of the game across the globe. Pretty sure that companies such as Joola and American-based, Franklin Sports not only want their sponsored pro players on the television sets of millions of spectators worldwide, but also want to ship more product.

What is Pickleball?

Pickleball combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis into a fast-paced, paddle sport. On a doubles court with a 1.5 to 2.5 meter high center net, the game is played. It is a two-on-two match, with each team containing two players. They can score points by hitting and getting the ball past the opponent's player and into their court by taking turns serving. The goal of the game is to avoid letting the ball touch the ground as much as possible.

A perforated plastic ball, that feels like a tennis ball got married to a wiffleball, is required to play the game. Indoor and outdoor facilities, colleges, and parks are just some of the places where this game, one that is explosively growing in popularity, can be played.

The original Pickleball Court on Bainbridge Island near Seattle, Washington
The Original Court | Photo Credit to

Pickelball's Invention

A quick history of the sport. It was created in 1965 near the city of Seattle, by "three dads ... whose kids were bored with their usual summertime activities", Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum, according to USA Pickleball.

A Quick Rules Primer

There is some resemblance to tennis in terms of the service and volleying exchanges. It differs with the implementation of the two-bounce rule and the non-volley zone. For instance, you can't volley a ball (hit it in the air) while standing in The Kitchen. The Kitchen refers to the 7x20' Non-Volley Zone that exists on each side of the court. It's a term that you should know if you're considering playing the sport.

If you want to know how to play Pickleball, USA Pickleball helps you learn the official rules of the game. A point is awarded when the ball cannot be returned to the other side. First to 11 wins. However, you must win by 2. It's fairly similar to Table Tennis in that regard.

Learning Pickleball can take some effort, but if you're a hands-on type, your best bet is to get out to a court near you and start playing in pick-up games.

Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games logo
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Wrapping Up

In all honesty, it's probably too late for the IOC to get Pickleball into the 2024 games. However, pay close attention to committee when it comes time to vote for the 2028 Games in Los Angeles. Since the host country (United States) is where the sport was created, some clever folks may just find a way to push it full throttle into the mainstream via it's inclusion as an Olympic Sport.

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