Why is squash not an Olympic sport? This is a question that everyone – or at least racket sports fanatics – often asks. We'll answer that question in this article.
When squash was not included as one of the disciplines for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, there was a major outrage. Many squash aficionados who are watching the Olympics may have asked if squash is an Olympic sport. Tennis, badminton, and table tennis are all racquet sports that compete in the Olympics. Roller hockey and synchronized swimming, on the other hand, are likely to be considerably more specialized sports. So, where does squash fit in?
Many theories have been proposed as to why squash failed to make the cut in the Olympics. The cost of setting up squash courts, the complexity of the rules, and the sport's poor marketability are a few reasons for not including squash in the Games. In general, squash was considered unappealing to the IOC.
Squash has never been a part of the Games throughout their history and is definitely not an Olympic sport. The World Squash Federation (WSF) has tried and failed to get squash included in the Olympics.
We'll go over the history of the World Squash Federation's attempts to acquire squash Olympic status, as well as the various reasons why it is still not included in the Olympics.
Why Is Squash Not An Olympic Sport?
Squash is no different than fencing, tennis, or even golf which have all been Olympic sports in the past. The question then becomes why squash is still not included in the world's most prestigious sporting competition.
Squash has already been unsuccessful in capturing the minds and hearts of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at least thrice and there is little reason to believe they will change their thoughts ahead of the 2024 Summer Games in Paris. The squash community is especially irritated by the constant rejections. To be honest, it should be.
However, anger and frustration will only get you so far in life. There must be some level of introspection at some time. Squash players need to start questioning why they are still not allowed to compete in the Olympic Games. There needs to be a better understanding of what the IOC is attempting to accomplish.
Bach was an Olympic fencer, which is an interesting tidbit. Bach is also a lawyer and a reformer by profession. It's worth noting that he has fencing experience as well. Olympic Agenda 2020, as it is known, is a defining aspect of his government.
The intention to promote the Olympic Games' long-term development is at the heart of the campaign. We can either bury our heads in the sand and pretend the world isn't changing (even if it is) or we can acknowledge that tradition is helpful if it adapts to or conforms to a changing environment: a world that is driven by profit.
Although this does not directly address the squash omission, it does provide insight into the IOC's thinking. So, whether squash fits into that goal is definitely up for debate.
Squash Rejection – Paris 2024 Olympics
Camille Serme and Gregory Gaultier are featured on one of the promotional advertisements for the squash proposal at the forefront of Paris 2024. The two players are clearly French, which is an essential distinction, and they are both in their 30s.
The organizers of Paris 2024 have long stated that they want to include sports that appeal to young French people. There are two interconnected sides to this. There is a business side, but there is also a desire to give the Olympic Games legitimacy. Both are intertwined.
The World Squash Federation has always maintained that the sport's regulatory body has made significant progress in capturing the imagination of young people by demonstrating that squash is innovative.
While there is no doubt that squash is in better shape than it has ever been, much of this is due to the tireless efforts of individuals such as PSA CEO Alex Gough and WSF President Jacques Fontaine.
However, squash is up against a lot of competition from other sports – most of which aren't traditional – that have captivated the interest of young people in the last two decades.
While their efforts have been admirable, the judgment is yet out on whether they have been sufficient to hold the attention of young people who are always looking for new ways to occupy themselves.
Break dance has already defeated squash ahead of Paris 2024, as most people are aware. Break dance, often known as breaking, has been added to the shortlist for the IOC Session, which will take place in June.
This is where the world is heading, whether we like it or not. Breaking was already featured during the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires. Breaking was, by chance, very popular and, by most accounts, successful in Buenos Aires.
Squash will compete alongside – and possibly against – surfing, skateboarding, and climbing when the final decisions are made. There's little question that breaking will be sanctioned before the Paris 2024 Olympics, and his thoughts on the sport are potentially instructive.
Breaking, according to Bach, is a really authentic statement. It is more than a workout or a show to him. That is something squash should think about in the future. To be honest, there's only so much that can be done to make squash more "electrifying."
If we expect squash to offer a forum for true expression – something that young people are increasingly desiring - the sport will be on a knife's edge and should abandon its Olympic ambitions entirely.
The reality is that squash is continually regarded as the sport of Empire by many around the world, which no one loves to talk about. Squash is the sport of choice for country club members in most developing or emerging markets.
Nigeria, a country with a population of almost 200 million people, is one of these rising markets. We can confidently state that your chances of encountering a break-dancer are significantly greater than those of encountering a squash fanatic or, for that matter, a squash court.
The IOC, meanwhile, is taking into account the sport's ability to be staged as an outdoor event. On that front, squash, as glamorous as it has become over the years, just cannot compete with breaking.
Nigeria is just one example of a rising market, but it is extremely important in the context of Paris 2024. Anyone who witnessed France win the FIFA World Cup last year will gladly admit that the country's face has altered considerably in the last 10 years. Two of the last six football World Cups have been won by France. Both of the French squads may have easily been confused with African teams.
In Paris 2024, the IOC must take into account the appeal of a sport to young people. The younger population of Paris is more culturally diversified than the youth of other Western civilizations. African voices are now more important than ever. If we believe that the IOC's outlook will remain unchanged for the foreseeable future, we can at least be comforted by the fact that squash has a way out of this dilemma.
Squash is already attempting — and succeeding – in this endeavor. However, the sport's colonial identity must be dismantled by a more concerted effort. Sure, squash is no longer associated with class distinction in many parts of the developed world.
Squash is the very definition of class in developing and emerging nations. In most cases, you must apply to join a Country Club. Fees and references are required for applications. If you're admitted – and that's a big if – you'll have to follow certain dress codes.
It's all a bit off-putting, especially for people looking for "genuine expression," as Bach puts it. It's not going to be enough to incorporate strobe lights and build glass courts. It is unfortunate that its previous Olympic bids have been overlooked.
It prevents a whole new audience from learning or even talking about the sport. While the window for qualifying for Paris 2024 is closing, the WSF and national sporting organizations, including US Squash, should leave no stone left unturned in their efforts to qualify for Los Angeles 2028.
About THE AUTHOR
Since initially playing at the collegiate level, I have amassed several decades of experience playing racquetball, tennis, and pickleball. I have played thousands of matches and games, and won medals and awards in multiple tourantments. I am constantly improving my game and enjoy mentoring and coaching other players in strategy and technique. I have authored dozens of articles on the sport.Read More About Michael Stevens