Defining A Sport
The Olympic games have certainly changed over the centuries, and even over the last few decades. They have especially changed in terms of which “sports” are involved. People define a sport in different ways, and they also seem to define the criteria for Olympic sports in different ways. Some people think that performance-based, judged activities like figure skating and cheerleading should be sports, and others don’t. One argument for these things being considered sports is that they are physically rigorous, demanding great skill. OK. How about ballet then? Tap dance? Many of my students are dance majors, and they are absolutely admirable in their physical conditioning and skill. Are their activities sports? One argument against these things being considered sports is that they are evaluated by judges, on the basis of aesthetic criteria that come down to individual, potentially biased, subjective opinion. Some might say that a sport should require not only physical activity and skill, but an objective, quantifiable type of competition that is clear-cut. This would be a very strict definition of sports, and if followed, would probably mean that about half of the sports in the Summer and Winter Olympics would be eliminated.
Bowling Fits the Bill
Even by this strict definition of a sport, a competitive activity in which there is a clear-cut goal and objective, quantifiable, clear-cut criteria for winning, bowling qualifies. Bowling requires a tremendous about of physical control and skill, even strength and endurance, especially at high levels of competition. Last time I checked, it was not an Olympic sport? Why in the world not? If curling, water polo, and basically dancing while twirling a ribbon are sports, it makes no sense that bowling would not be represented. Golf is another candidate. Some people bring up the fact that golf would be difficult to make an Olympic sport due to the vast amount of space needed, and the difficulty in standardizing the course, but bowling does not have these problems.
Advantages of Making Bowling an Olympic Sport
Last time I looked, 80 million people bowl in the United States, and over 110 million people bowled in a total of over 80 countries around the world. It is a popular sport. Everyone seems to know it, and have tried it. If bowling were made an Olympic sport, it would probably have a pretty good turnout. It’s a sport people can identify with. Not many people know what it’s like to compete on the pommel horse, the bobsled, or a ski jump, but the familiarity most people have with bowling would make it pretty popular among audiences. From an American point of view, there would also be an advantage in terms of competition. Call it unfair if you like, but we have a vested interest in getting sports into the Olympics that are popular here. American audiences would probably be big for bowling events, and we would have some spectacular athletes to choose from for our own teams.
The author is a bowler and university professor who writes articles in his spare time to help readers find comfortable bowling shoes, bowling balls, and other equipment and accessories that can help them to enjoy their game. He researches the best online sources for good deals.