Is Paintball an Olympic Sport? – 5 Reasons Why it Should be

Paintball is a physical and mental sport that requires both strategy and teamwork. Paintball is also a very safe sport. It is not as dangerous as some people think it is. But, Is Paintball an Olympic Sport? We hate to break it to you but NO, Paintball hasn’t been recognized as an Olympics sport yet.

Is Paintball an Olympic Sport

In this blog post, we will discuss the criteria of Olympic sports and also discuss why paintball is a good fit. So, without further ado, let’s first review the definition of Olympic Sport.

Definition of an Olympic sport

The definition of an Olympic sport is a bit ambiguous. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has a very specific definition, but the definition of an Olympic sport is often debated. An Olympic sport must have an international governing body, be contested by men and women, and be open to athletes of all nationalities.

Although, there are many sports that meet these qualifications, not all of them are considered Olympic sports. For instance, Bowling and Chess are considered sports but they are not a part of the Olympics.

Why Paintball is Not a Part of Olympics Games?

Paintball is a very popular sport, even though it’s not officially recognized as an Olympic sport. There are many reasons why paintball should be considered for the Olympics, but there are some clear reasons why paintball has not been added yet.

1. Poor Marketing

Since 2000, paintball has reached international popularity within Asia and Europe/Russia. But in North America, its popularity has been declining constantly. The only people who played paintball were those who made the choice to play at their local fields (this may be your case).

Even if they like the game, most casual players do not think of playing regularly or of starting a team because they can’t imagine how to gain more exposure. We have explained this factor in great detail here.

2. Little to No Mainstream Coverage

Did you know that the Paintball World Cup of 1995 was broadcast on ESPN? Unfortunately, this is not the case anymore. Only big paintball events are covered by mainstream media outlets nowadays. On top of that, most famous sports news channels do not cover paintball even if it’s a notable event or championship.

As a result, the general public has little to no access to information regarding paintball and therefore, does not know much about the latest happening in this sport. This is related to the marketing factor above but lack of exposure means less sponsorship and fewer teams/events which results in a lack of media coverage.

3. Variation in Rules

In order to be considered an Olympic sport, a game must have a predefined set of rules. As for the paintball, the rules can even vary from field to field. There are 4 major paintball leagues around the world and unfortunately, each league has minor changes in its rules. This makes it difficult for teams from separate leagues to play at a global event.

This lack of unity between leagues around the world has made it difficult for spectators, team organizers, sponsors, etc. to get behind paintball as a legitimate sport that is worthy of exposure at an international level.

4. Hard to Referee

You might already know that paintball is one difficult sport to referee. Many paintballers are notorious for cheating and breaking the rules on-field and due to the fast-paced nature of the game, it is difficult to catch every infraction. So, how can you have a truly fair and popular international competition?

At the moment, it’s impossible for referees to keep up with players during a major paintball tournament so it seems like this is another reason why paintball has not been included in the Olympics yet.

Why Paintball Should be a Part of the Olympics Games?

Although there are many reasons why paintball can not be part of the Olympics Games, there are some very strong arguments to support the opposite view. Let’s have a look at some of them.

1. The Sport Is Still Growing

Statistics show that the number of people playing paintball is still increasing. In 2017, an estimated 3.5 million people chose to play paintball for fun or as a competitive sport.

As paintball is increasing in number, it’s gaining more exposure and notoriety which means that the Olympics may include paintball sooner rather than later.

2. Paintball Is Very Competitive

Paintball is a game of strategy and requires physical activities like running, navigating obstacles, quick movements, etc. It also requires tactical thinking to create offensive or defensive positions for your team.

If you’ve played paintball before, you know that it’s extremely fun but difficult at the same time. This means that many pro-players and even regular players keep training and improving their skills to become better than the rest.

3. Extremely Entertaining

When was the last time you got bored of playing or even watching speedball? Probably never. In fact, paintball is considered to be one of the most fun and entertaining sports in the world.

This is why it’s gaining more exposure despite getting little to no coverage from mainstream media and popular culture let alone being included in the Olympics.

4. Similar to Most Shooting Games

Paintball is a shooting sport and is very similar to the games found in the list of Olympic sports under the same category. There are many shooting games that have been played at the Olympics such as skeet shooting, archery, etc.

It even has a game that involves the throwing of a pre-historical weapon, the Javelin.

Paintball is a game that involves speed, strategy, and accuracy. So, if we look at the shooting games that are already included in the Olympics, it’s clear that paintball should be a part of the Olympics as well.

5. Healthy way for Countries to Show-off Military Skills

As the Olympics only includes sports that promote peace and healthy competition, paintball might be a great way for nations to show off their military skills peacefully.

Mil-Sim Paintball (a type of paintball that involves the reenactment of historic military events) can not only be used as a form of entertainment but also as a means to train and improve military and survival techniques and abilities.

Just Imagine a paintball match between the USA and Russia or South and North Korea, wouldn’t that be fun to watch?

Final Words – Wrapping it up

Paintball is actually one of the most popular international sports that are still waiting for its recognition and inclusion as an Olympic sport.

So, in conclusion, paintball is not an Olympic sport yet but it might be one day. A number of points were considered in this article to show why the sport deserves its place at the Olympics Games.

If you want to share your opinion about whether or not paintball should be included in the list of sports for the Olympics Games then leave us a comment below with your thoughts.

Happy Paintballing!


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