25 Coolest Olympic Sports Considered But Not Approved

Posted by , Updated on May 23, 2024

Every year, numerous underrated sports endeavor to capture the recognition and interest of the International Olympic Committee. Despite undergoing a rigorous application process and adhering to strict regulations, their inclusion remains uncertain. Even if accepted, there is no guarantee they will be featured in the Olympic Games. Unfortunately, many remarkable sports worldwide fall short of making it to the Olympics. So, which sports missed their chance? Here’s a list of the 25 Coolest Olympic Sports that were considered but not approved.



cricketSource: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/25/cricket-on-verge-making-application-olympic-inclusion, https://www.pledgesports.org/2017/06/10-most-popular-sports-in-the-world/

Putting Cricket in the Olympics makes sense. It’s one of the most popular sports in the world with over 2 billion followers. Most recently in fact, there’s been talk of putting Cricket into the 2024 Olympic games. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.


Inline Speed Skating

Inline_SpeedskatingSource: https://www.thoughtco.com/roller-skating-become-olympic-sports-1963610

If there’s ice skating in the Winter Olympics, you’d think inline speed skating would make the cut for the Summer Olympics. Yet, it still isn’t an Olympic sport. Skating organizations are fighting to get the sport included in the Olympics but haven’t found any success.


Ultimate Frisbee

flying discSource: https://www.newyorker.com/news/sporting-scene/ultimate-frisbees-surprising-arrival-as-a-likely-olympic-sport

While it might seem like a long shot, Ultimate Frisbee has all the right athletic parameters to be in the Olympics. Plus, it’s a lot of fun to watch. There have been rumblings of actually having Ultimate in the Olympics, especially with the I.O.C. (International Olympic Committee) eager to be relevant in today’s world.



bowlingSource: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2014/10/31/bowling-seeks-to-become-an-olympic-sport-by-doing-away-with-current-boring-scoring-method/?utm_term=.dc814f63c58a

For many, Bowling is the thing you do when you’ve done everything else. It’s easy to forget there are still a ton of really good, competitive bowlers in the world, and they’d be eager to play at the Olympics. If Curling can be in the Olympics, it only makes sense to put in Bowling.



parkourSource: https://www.npr.org/2014/09/11/347716614/parkour-may-run-flip-dive-and-slide-its-way-into-olympics

Before you laugh at including Parkour in the Olympics, isn’t it just another form of Gymnastics? It requires rigorous athleticism. Some are against the idea because it’s difficult to score, but since Parkour leaders have met with the I.O.C., it’s a good bet many still want it included.



squashSource: https://www.economist.com/blogs/gametheory/2016/08/dead-rubber

Despite efforts by the World Squash Federation to include Squash in the Rio Olympics, their request was denied and would also be denied for the Tokyo Olympics, too. According to US Squash, Squash would be a great game for the Olympics. It has 1.6 million American players and 20 million worldwide.



WakeboardingSource: http://adrex.com/water/wakeboarding/articles/new-hope-for-wakeboarding-to-take-part-in-the-2020-tokyo-games

Wakeboarding would just make sense at the Olympics. It’s a fun water sport and would excite a television audience. Yet, somehow it hasn’t made its debut. It recently was rejected for the 2020 Olympics. Here’s hoping it can make 2024.



dodgeballSource: http://www.bbc.com/sport/36025664

Everyone remembers the 5 D’s of Dodgeball: Dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge. Dodgeball should absolutely be in the Olympics. Everyone knows the game from gym class in school. It’s incredibly fun to watch and you have to have the arm of a quarterback to win.



foosballSource: http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2017/10/18/olympics-may-soon-feature-pole-dancing-foosball-and-poker.html

When you hear “Foosball,” images of college and student union’s probably come to mind. Foosball isn’t the most athletically inclined sports, but it does require a tremendous amount of skill. Why not include it in the Olympics? Believe it or not, it’s actually being considered by the I.O.C.



billiardsSource: https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1025061/billiard-sports-queue-up-tokyo-2020-olympic-inclusion

Likewise, Billiards bring up images of smokey, poorly lit bars, Dave and Busters, or again, college dorms. But Billiards is a highly competitive sport and might be more entertaining to watch than Foosball. The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association are currently making its case to be included.



ChessSetSource: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/chess/11677916/Chess-at-the-Olympics.html

Some people don’t consider Chess to be a sport, but they’d be wrong. Even the Olympics considers Chess a sport, but they’ve never officially put it in the games. We think it’s about time they changed that. There’s a slight chance it might end up in the 2020 Tokyo Games.


Pole Dancing

pole dancerSource: https://nypost.com/2017/10/18/pole-dancing-may-soon-be-a-sport-in-the-olympics/

Yes, we know Pole Dancing at the Olympics might be a tad risque. Yet, there are still competitive pole dancers, and they are very athletic. While it hasn’t been an approved sport for the Olympics, it recently got “Observer” status and could be inducted and considered a sport in the years to come.


Beach Soccer

BeachsoccerSource: http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/722484.shtml

Beach Soccer is exactly what it sounds like. Rather than playing soccer on a grassy field, it’s on a sandy beach. It was heavily pushed to be in the Rio Olympics but was eventually rejected. Perhaps one day it’ll have its day in the sun.



futsalSource: http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/722484.shtml

Another version of Soccer, Futsal is mostly played indoors and doesn’t have as many players as Soccer. Like Beach Soccer, Futsal was considered for the Rio Olympics but eventually denied entry.



dartSource: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/othersports/article-4733298/Darts-set-Olympics-Michael-van-Gerwen-backs-bid.html

Darts goes far beyond a leisure sport. Darts athletes take the game very seriously. While it’s never been in the Olympics, it’s currently under review to be a recognized game of the Olympics and hopes to be part of the games in 2024.


Ice Swimming

ice swimmingSource: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/15/sports/for-swimmers-with-ice-water-in-their-veins-an-event-to-match.html?_r=0

It’s probably safe to say Ice Swimming is an extreme sport. Swimmers get into the water around 39 degrees Fahrenheit (3.8 Celsius). It has its roots in Europe, and many proponents would like it to be in the Olympics. However, critics call it “too dangerous.” However, you could probably say the same thing about Bobsledding.


Mixed Martial Arts

mmaSource: https://www.si.com/olympics/2016/08/14/mma-mixed-martial-arts-added-to-olympics-rio-2016

Other forms of martial arts are in the Olympics like Judo and Wrestling, so why not Mixed Martial Arts? The discipline is as old as time and would make sense to be included, but the Olympics has rejected it as “too violent.”



Floorball_gameSource: http://www.floorball.org/news.asp?id_tiedote=5046

Floorball is essentially Hockey without ice. In place of a puck, they use a ball. It’s pretty straightforward but also pretty awesome to watch. It feels like a crime this game hasn’t made it to the Olympics yet. Though, it has been officially recognized by the I.O.C.



bowlsSource: http://www.worldbowls.com/2016/05/01/ioc-recognition-application-process-launched/

Bowls or “Lawn Bowls” isn’t bowling, but it also kind of is. Essentially, you roll balls across an uneven lawn to get close to other balls. It hasn’t been accepted by the I.O.C. yet, but the organization behind Bowls is working to change that.


Ice Climbing

ice climbingSource: http://aroundtherings.com/site/A__49876/Title__Ice-Climbing-to-Make-Run-at-2022-Olympic-Program----Federations-Focus/292/Articles

Climbing up a wall of ice might be a crazy feat for most people, but the athletes that do it would love to be in the Olympics. While the Olympics has mostly rejected the sport, it could be included in the 2022 games.


Competitive Ballroom Dancing

ballroom dancingSource: http://dancecompreview.com/will-dancesport-be-in-the-2020-olympic-games-10-reasons-to-consider/

We’ve all watched it on Dancing with the Stars. So, why not let those athletes have a shot at the Olympics? While it hasn’t been considered a sport by the Olympics, the official organization for “DanceSport” has made strides to change all that and get the game included in a future Olympic games.



disc golfSource: https://www.pdga.com/international-olympic-committee-grants-full-recognition-disc-sports

Frolf, also known as Frisbee Golf or Disc Golf, is already recognized by the Olympics as a legit sport. While that’s great, it still hasn’t been approved to be able to compete in an Olympic games. Here’s hoping one day it’ll get its chance to show the world how cool it is.



cheerleadingSource: http://ftw.usatoday.com/2016/12/what-cheerleading-being-approved-provisionally-for-the-olympics-means-for-the-sport

Calling Cheerleading a sport has always been a touchy issue, but with the Olympics officially considering it a sport, the debate may well be over. It’s only a matter of time before it makes its way to the Olympic games.


Sheep Shearing

Sheep_shearingSource: http://www.espn.com/olympics/story/_/id/7469948/farmers-group-sees-sheep-shearing-olympic-sport

It might sound funny to call “Sheep Shearing” a sport, but many farmers would disagree. Many think its time to elevate the sport up to the highest level and put it in the Olympics. The likelihood of this is very slim. Still, it might be fun to watch.


American Football

footballSource: https://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2014/2/16/5416416/american-football-olympics-2024

So, technically, American Football has been in the Olympics once, but it was a long time ago and has been rejected ever since. While adding it kind of gives America the unfair advantage, wouldn’t it be cool to see other countries play against each other? Some believe it might have a chance to be added in the 2024 Olympics.

Photo: Feature: shutterstock, 25. Pixabay.com (Public Domain), 24. 阿东哥, Inline Speedskating, CC BY 2.5 CN, 23. © Raimond Spekking / CC BY-SA 4.0 (via Wikimedia Commons), Flying Disc – Ultimate Frisbee – World Games 2005 (1), CC BY-SA 4.0, 22. Pixabay.com (Public Domain), 21. Ja-hatten, Team JiYo – pioneerne indenfor parkour i danmark, CC BY-SA 3.0, 20. No machine-readable author provided. Jensbn~commonswiki assumed (based on copyright claims)., Squash court, CC BY-SA 3.0, 19. Riley Bathurst, Wakeboarding, CC BY-SA 3.0, 18. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 17. No machine-readable author provided. PoprocksCk~commonswiki assumed (based on copyright claims)., FAS Foosball table 1, CC BY-SA 3.0, 16. Derbeth, Billiards and snookers, CC BY 2.0, 15. David Lapetina, Chess-king, CC BY-SA 3.0, 14. Pixabay.com (Public Domain), 13. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 12. Wilson Dias/ABr, Futebol Salao Pan2007, CC BY 3.0 BR, 11. Pixabay.com (Public Domain), 10. ChBaltes, Ice swimming 46, CC BY-SA 3.0, 9. Pixabay.com (Public Domain), 8 WIkipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 7. anonymous, Lawn.bowls.mainpic1, CC BY-SA 3.0, 6. Kévin k., Ice climbing – Symphonie d’automne, CC BY-SA 2.0 FR, 5. Nathaniel C. Sheetz, MIT 2006 Standard Prechamp Final 2, CC BY-SA 3.0, 4. Steve Ganz, Disc golfer and basket, CC BY 2.0, 3. Palmount45, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleading squad, CC BY-SA 4.0, 2. Martin Pot (Martybugs at en.wikipedia), Sheep shearing, CC BY 3.0, 1. Pixabay.com (Public Domain)

Photo: 15. By <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Alight" class="extiw" title="en:User:Alight">Alan Light</a> - <span class="int-own-work" lang="">Own work by the original uploader</span>, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link