Skip to navigationSkip to content

Ultimate frisbee takes a major leap toward becoming an Olympic sport

EPA/Federico Gambarini
Not on Olympic turf yet.
By Svati Kirsten Narula
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has officially recognized the World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF), which governs ultimate frisbee and other sports involving flying discs.

This means that ultimate frisbee could one day be included in the Olympic games, though there’s no guarantee. IOC recognition puts frisbee in the same position as chess: accepted into the “Olympic family” but with obstacles to overcome before it can be included in future Olympic games.

WFDF earned provisional recognition from the IOC in 2013. The world chess federation earned official recognition from the IOC in 1999.

WFDF sports—including ultimate frisbee, freestyle frisbee, and disc golf—are played in about 60 different countries. “Ultimate,” as it’s often called, is especially popular in the US, where the sport began around 1970.

A writer in the Guardian described ultimate as “a combination of netball–because you cannot run with the Frisbee (or disc), and American football–because you score a point for catching the disc in the end zone.” It’s not considered a contact sport, but players do occasionally collide with each other.


📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.