Why is Squash not in the Olympics?
At SSC, we love Squash. Of course we do, we're a squash club! But why is our beloved sport not in the Olympics?
Below is a an article that puts it into perspective (although still not really giving us the reason!):
The IOC gave a shortlist of seven points that the new sport for 2020 – squash, wrestling, or baseball/softball – needed to tick. And squash ticks them all. It meets the Olympic ideals – faster, higher, stronger – and it's gladiatorial, physical and one on one.
There really is no hiding place on court and it's a real battle of wits and skill.
The Olympic Games brings together the world's best athletes and squash would bring something new and fresh to the world's greatest sporting event. The youth and legacy aspect of the sport makes it particularly strong. Squash is played all around the world in more than 185 countries – it's very diverse – and has competitors from every continent. Emerging countries from Asia, South America and the Middle East are also performing better than ever in junior events so the future of the sport is in good hands.
It has been voted the world's healthiest sport by Forbes magazine too and the Games would be the pinnacle for all competitors. An Olympic gold medal would be the biggest title you could win in squash – all the world's best squash players would be there.
There are strong players all around the world with more than 70 countries currently represented on the men's and women's squash tours. It's at an incredible level – both male and female. Tennis may be seen as the leading racket sport, but squash compares favourably with Olympic sports such as table tennis and badminton in terms of the diversity and different styles of play.
On top of that we can showcase a host city like no other. In London, for instance, the court could have been set up in front of the Royal Albert Hall or in Trafalgar Square. If Istanbul wins the 2020 Olympic bid the Bosphorus would be a perfect backdrop. We can make the squash court into an iconic venue because it's portable. The venue set up in front of the floodlit pyramids in Egypt for the World Open was a stunning example.
It's dynamic and now more televisual than ever before – which was one of the key areas the sport was told to go away and work on. It used to be that unless you were physically at an event you couldn't really see how physically demanding matches were but now with improved technology you can really see that on TV.
We can see the legacy that Olympic inclusion would bring to the future of the sport that we love. There have been times when we would have loved to be at the Olympic Games ourselves, and perhaps some athletes would have given up on that as an individual goal, but it is still vital that we chase the dream of playing at an Olympic Games for the next generation of squash stars.
The participation level of squash is growing worldwide and I think it would give kids that extra incentive if they knew that there could be an Olympic gold medal at the end of the line. That's what squash has lacked and it would be a great motivator to get involved. Inspiring young people is something that transcends all sports.
We've ticked the boxes and jumped through hoops to improve the overall presentation and innovate our sport. It's time for squash to have its chance to shine on the world's greatest sporting stage.
And yet... it remains continuously overlooked. Popular reasons appear to support the fact that it's not widely enough played globally (although this is less true than ever), it is assumed to be an elitist sport and accessible only to the wealthy (equally, this is not representative of the modern game!), or that it is biased toward a male participation...
At some point we all hope it'll gain the recognition it truly deserves!