Friday, October 2, 2015


Well, it’s official. Squash will not be a part of the 2020 Olympic program in Tokyo. Yes, it’s shocking. It’s heartbreaking. It’s tragic. It’s positively, undisputedly, unquestionably, categorically, irrefutably preposterous.  But, it is not a surprise. And we really should not have been expecting anything less than a screw-you-who-cares-about-squash rejection. So, with nothing more to lose, I’m ranting…

From the 8 listed sports that were vying for a spot on the agenda, the Tokyo Olympic Committee recommended 5 of them for inclusion to the 2020 Games. Squash was not one of them. We were snubbed for: Baseball / Softball – which is hardly unexpected considering the following baseball receives in Japan; Karate – which, again, shouldn’t dumbfound anyone; Skateboarding… are you freakin’ kidding me? Neither the International Skateboarding Federation nor World Skateboarding Federation are even recognized by the IOC. How on earth are they even considered? Sport Climbing… errr, I am at a loss for words; Surfing. Dude. Wow. I believe sports such as Skateboarding and Climbing actually demean the esteemed sanctity of the Olympics. They’re dumbing down.

It’s been a downhill slide for squash for years. It was actually voted in for the 2012 London Games, only to be voted off immediately thereafter when the IOC decided to take another, controversial ‘secret’ vote where many of the IOC officials had a sudden change of heart and probably a change in their bank account balance.

Squash made it to the final 3 sports for consideration for the 2016 Rio Games, but lost out to Golf and Rugby 7’s, and then the recent voting debacle for the 2020 agenda had squash (and every other sport) waste all their time and money as they witnessed the train wreck proceedings of the IOC voting off wrestling, and then merrily reinstating it 9 months later.

A new IOC president announced it would allow more sports in for the 2020 Games, but instead of allowing the sports that made it to the final 3 for the original 2020 voting to be automatically included, they forced all interested sports to go through the entire bidding process anew. This time, squash made it to the final 8, before not even getting into the final 5. Squash is getting pushed further down the totem pole.

Japan’s reasoning for their choices was simple. Their aim was to have a representation of sports that embodies “traditional and emerging, youth focused events”. What bollocks. Screw the rules. Clearly, the IOC have zero interest in an actual sport that truly meets all the criteria. Instead, it’s money, money, money. If squash wants to be in the Olympics, it needs to start to play by the real world rules and grease the right pockets.

Which really begs the question, “is it worth it?” Is all this time, money and effort really the thing the squash associations should be spending their efforts on? Of course squash has vowed to keep trying for 2024 (and in all reality, what choice do they have?), but why are we trying to get into an exclusive society that has continuously looked at squash like the annoying red-headed stepchild asking for a hand-out? If the Olympic Committees truly believe that “sports” such as Skateboarding and Sports Climbing are more worthy of Olympic status than squash, then we have no hope and are wasting our time.  Back to the grass roots, I say. Juniors, juniors, juniors. Courts, courts, courts. The world cannot have enough squash players or venues. In the meantime, the IOC can take their Olympic “values” and comprehensively, violently, consummately, copiously, and unabashedly, shove it in their Olympic sized rings.

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