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Is Pickleball an Olympic Sport?

Man and woman playing pickleball in the court.

Pickleball is becoming very popular in different countries. It consists of a racket game that combines elements of tennis, paddle tennis, ping-pong and badminton.

Learning this racket sport is easy, in addition to having a fast pace and being fun to practice, due to the long rallies that take place during the development of a match. This activity is usually played in doubles, although it can also be played one on one.

Is it played in the Olympics?

Pickleball, unfortunately, is not an Olympic sport. Instead, it is a game played on a 20′ x 44′ court. A pickleball net measuring 36 inches at each end and 34 inches in the center is hung.

Players take turns hitting the ball back and forth with a wooden paddle. It can be played singles or doubles and is one of the few sports that can be played by mixed teams.

What would be the conditions for qualifying?

Pickleball player waiting for her turn.

In order for pickleball to be able to participate in the Olympic Games, it must meet a series of conditions established by the IOC.

  • It must be regulated by an international non-governmental organization.
  • Comply with the anti-doping code of the Olympic Movement
  • The sport must have a certain level of international popularity.
  • Adequate facilities are available
  • The sport is popular and attracts interest from all over the world.

These requirements are not easy to meet. For example, to be internationally popular, men’s football must be played in more than 75 countries on four continents and women’s football in more than 40 countries on three continents.

This includes the difference between men and women, as in many countries around the world women are not allowed to play professional sports.

Its popularity in question

A doubles team competing in pickleball tournament.

People usually have a general idea of all the sports that take part in the Olympic Games, and usually some of the most important events are athletics, swimming, gymnastics and ice skating, to name a few. However, in 2019, there are 65 different sports that athletes can participate in, and that number is constantly changing.

Unfortunately, the biggest problem preventing pickleball from being incorporated into the Olympics is its level of popularity and its international population. Although popular in North America, it is not widely played on other continents or outside of Canada, the United States, and Mexico.

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The international presence is not there.

To qualify for the Olympics, a sport must be shared by more countries and gain a fan base comparable to that of popular sports such as long-distance running, swimming and soccer. To be selected for the Olympics, you have to find a way to take pickleball overseas.

Currently, the games are held in Singapore, the Philippines, Poland, and India. In addition, players need to create an international organization that regulates the game, since there is currently no international organization.

Pickleball as an Olympic Sport

Man watching a pickleball tournament.

Pickleball is a relatively new sport compared to many others and should gain enough popularity to compete with the Olympics. To do this, you must meet certain basic requirements and follow the appropriate enrollment procedure.

A generational game

Pickleball is a mix between badminton, tennis and ping pong that appeals to players of all ages, from children to those over 90 years old. That is why it is known as the 3G sport, because it spans three generations between the ages of the people who practise it.

A sport for three generations

Father teaching son how to play pickleball.

Pickleball is a perfect sport for people of all ages with or without previous experience in sports. Children and youth participate due to its ease of learning. It is ideal for the initiation of boys and girls of all ages in the world of sports.

Perfect for both men and women with no prior racket sports experience, as well as those who do and will feel competitive from day one. It is the fashionable sport among the elderly who are looking for a simple activity with little risk of injury, which allows them to stay in shape.

A sport to compete

Given its technical complexity, it is also an ideal competitive challenge for those who seek to go one step further. There are competitions for all levels and ages, including a professional circuit that you can start joining very soon. However, competitions stay in communities across the country and not on an international platform.


Is it possible for it to become an Olympic sport? Pickleball could be an Olympic sport in the future, but only if fans and players manage to take the sport to an international level and create strong rules and regulations on a global scale. Without this, pickleball would continue to be  a grassroots, recreational, and backyard sport.