At an adult level, it was a record year for the sport of flag football. New major tournaments are popping up across the world, seeing thousands of teams competing across all age groups, formats and styles. Cash prizes have been at an all time high, expected to eclipse over $100,000 in team giveaways in the next calendar year. Sponsors have started taking notice as well, with the likes of EA Sports, Nerf, Hotels.com, Red Bull and other major brands seeing the value and growth from flag football as a way to effectively reach their target audience in large numbers. Women’s participation is at an all-time high as well, mirroring it’s popularity at the youth level, and is the preferred format of play for American football in most Central to South American countries.
So how does this all lead back to the Olympics and getting American football included as an official sport? First, let’s review a little history on where the sport stands today with the International Olympic Committee, or IOC.
Historically, In order to be included into the Olympic games as a demonstration sport, you have to have an International Federation and have held a World Championship competition. This must take place a minimum of 6 years before a scheduled Olympic 스포츠티비 . The International Federation of American Football, primarily focused on tackle football but includes flag in it’s tournament lineup, met this standard and was approved in 2012, and gained provisional recognition in 2014. This could pave the way for American football to be included as an official sport, and flag football as possibly a discipline of said sport, however the IFAF has since faced setbacks due to alleged scandal, event mismanagement and misappropriation of funds that cannot bode well for the sports inclusion short term. Fortunately in 2007 the IOC adopted a new, more flexible rule set allowing programs to be up for review after every Olympics starting in 2020, clearing a path for all sports to present their case for being included by winning a simple majority vote.
So the opportunity is there for American football to be included in the most prestigious sporting event around the world, but how do we overcome the obstacles presented by the structure of the sport to fit the mold of a successful Olympic sporting event?
FLAG FOOTBALL IS THE KEY TO OLYMPIC INCLUSION
For every way tackle football doesn’t fit the mold as a logical choice for the IOC, there’s flag football. Here are the top 4 reasons flag football should be considered to be included as the next Olympic sport.
1. It’s Less Physically Demanding than Tackle Football
As we’ve already established, flag football is a much safer alternative than tackle football. Less hits and collisions equal fewer injuries, and flag football is already a proven success model that’s being praised for preserving the game for future generations. But when it comes to the Summer Olympic Games, safety is just one aspect of the physical demands of the sport, considering you have less than a 3 week window to fit in all levels of competition, and the year-round activity needed to practice and qualify. Imagine playing 6-7 full contact football games with a limited roster all within a span of ~16 days, not to mention other possible qualifying events throughout the year. For flag football, it’s not uncommon to play 6-7 games in a weekend or sometimes even a day, so the sport is more than equipped for this style of tournament play.