Marking the latest in a decade long rejection of Squash as an official Olympic sport, this week the International Olympic Committee announced the inclusion of five more events set to take the stage at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics: Skateboarding, Karate, Surfing, Sports Climbing, Baseball and Softball. While thousands of now potential Olympic competitors around the world rejoice at the news, the continued exclusion of this particular event has just as many athletes calling foul.
The Entitled Vs The Ignored
The world isn’t too happy with the IOC’s latest decision. Whether they believe that Squash meets more of the official qualifications than, for instance, Skateboarding, or that the Committee is purposely snubbing certain sports in favor of others with more profitability, both fans and participants of the game are outraged at the decision. The top Squash players dream of seeing their sport in the Olympics, but despite their pleas, they are forced to stand by and watch representatives of the other chosen sports treat their Olympic invite like a scrimmage.
A prime example of this is illustrated in 2016’s inclusion of Golf as an Olympic event. In what should have been a monumental opportunity to see the best contemporary golfers compete for the gold, some of the most notable names in the game chose to stay home. At the time, the top three in golf’s world rankings (Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, and Jordan Spieth, respectfully) opted out of the event. One would imagine that the leaders of the sport would jump at the chance to make Olympic history.
Instead, a few of the players you’d expect to see at the top of the leaderboard did not have any interest in even watching coverage. Golf superstar Rory McIlroy chose to watch other sports that mattered. Jason Day admits that he only watched one hole. Although, Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth pulled out over health concerns, Spieth now has regrets not competing. The players that did fly out to Rio put on a fantastic show, and the winners are well-deserving, but you have to admit that a few more high profile names would not have hurt.
Squash Isn’t the Only One with IOC Beef
Not all sports are created equal, but their organizations sure do deserve equal consideration during an Olympic bid. Unfortunately, even if they have a strong global presence, not everyone gets accepted. In fact, for the handful of sports that were included for the 2020 games, the IOC rejected twenty others (including Bowling, Chess, Korfball, Sumo, Tug of War, and Wushu). Squash may not be alone, but the companionship does little to mend the heartbreak.
As each Olympiad passes, the sports both included and excluded will be heavily debated. Squash may be sidelined for 2020, but there’s always the chance that it can usurp Golf, or another sport, in the future. Either way, the Olympics will forever be a prestigious event, but it isn’t the only game in town. For every casual spectator that flips through Olympic coverage every two years, there are dozens of diehard fans that passionately embrace these exciting sports year-round. Whether it be world championships or minor league games between local rivals, Squash and others ostracized from the Olympics will continue to keep the eyes of the world focused on their game. The IOC may be able to keep them out of the Games, but with the latest technology allowing all sports to substantially increase their global presence, perhaps it’s the Olympics, not squash, which is really missing out.