Ultimate Frisbee Growing Internationally, Expected to Be Olympic Event Soon

Al RiegerCorrespondent IJanuary 7, 2012

HONOLULU, HAWAII - AUGUST 10:  A member of team Death or Glory (DoG) from Boston (L) hauls in a pass during the men's open championship game against Santa Barbara's team Condor. Team Condor won the match 14 -12 over DoG in Honolulu, Hawaii on August 10, 2002. 120 teams from 24 countries compete for World Champion honors in four divisions of Ultimate Frisbee. (Photo by Phil Mislinski/Getty Images)
Phil Mislinski/Getty Images

It's just called Ultimate now.  Frisbee is what you play at the park with your dog.  Now, Ultimate is played by athletes tall and lean, who can run like soccer forwards, dive like wide receivers and they can jump too.

It's called a "sky" when an opposing player leaps over another defender to catch the disc.  

This isn't a hippie sport anymore.  According to the UPA (Ultimate Players Association), the sport is now played by over 10,000 college students with over 600 teams nationwide.    

"We train as hard as any sport on campus," said Jake Barbarone, captain of Mass Hysteria of Western Illinois University.

As a club sport, teams have to rely on their own money by hosting tournaments, charging dues and running fundraisers.  Still, the sport is on the rise with new teams being created every year.  

Currently, the UPA is working to get recognition as a prospective Olympic event from the IOC (International Olympic Committee).  A big step was made when the International World Games Association, under the IOC, acknowledged Ultimate as a world sport, capable of competing for bronze, silver and gold medals.  

Before a sport can be added to the Olympics it will have to have a large International following.  Although predominately played in the U.S.A., Ultimate has increased in popularity overseas with countries such as Japan, Canada and Great Britain competing in tournaments.   

Alex Rieger is a Contributor for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand.