The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced that it will officially recognize the World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF), and with it all disc-based games: ultimate frisbee, disc golf, and freestyle. The announcement was made during the 128th IOC session in Kuala Lumpur, and it gives the federation an opportunity to fight for IOC funding and inclusion in future Olympic games.
In an official statement on the WFDF’s website, President Robert Rauch excitedly stated that “this is an incredible milestone in the 30 year history of WFDF and a further important step for our International Federation in the development of our sport worldwide… Today’s decision will give a further boost to our efforts to increase the presence of Flying Disc sports in all countries and on all continents”.
The popularity of disc-based games has skyrocketed over the past decade; thousands of people currently play on competitive teams all over the world. The United States is listed as the top-ranked ultimate team in the WFDF’s World Ultimate Country Rankings, followed by Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Japan and Australia. Colombia comes in as the seventh best team in the world– the only Latin American contingent to make the top ten (and in a similar position to their fourth-ranked men’s national soccer team)– with Mexico and Venezuela joining them in the top 50 at 25 and 30 respectively.
In 2008, there were roughly 30 registered ultimate teams in Colombia. But the sport took a massive surge in popularity in the years that followed, resulting in greater accessibility for an increased percentage of the country’s population. By 2013, the number of registered teams had increased sixfold, with somewhere around 175 different teams popping up in Bogotá, Medellín, Cali, Ibagué and beyond.
Los Cafeteros look poised to be an ultimate powerhouse in years to come should the sport gain inclusion in future Olympic games.