New York Times Hosts Debate On Ultimate’s Olympic Readiness

NY Times

The New York Times’ ‘Room For Debate’ just published a discussion on the topic: “Is Ultimate Frisbee Ready For The Olympics?

Four panelists shared their thoughts. Here are short excerpts from each writer with links to their articles.

End the Marginalization of Ultimate Frisbee at the High School Level First
Tiina Booth, UMass coach and Ultiworld columnist

“Every summer, at the training camp I run, teenagers tell me about their efforts to establish teams at their high schools. One camper is in his second year of lobbying his administration; though almost 100 of his classmates were interested in playing, the school refused to even sanction it as a club sport. (Virtually all high school and college teams are club because there are no state athletic associations that recognize Ultimate as a varsity sport at this time.) He was told it would divert students from the more successful sports teams already established at the school.”

A Win for the Olympics if Ultimate Frisbee Stays Self-Officiated
Jody Avirgan, 2015 U23 USA Men’s coach and long-time player

“Ultimate’s governing body has since embraced a middle-ground level of officiating at the club level called the observer system. In this model, players retain the ability to make their own calls as referees, but there is a neutral party on hand to adjudicate any disputes. I hope this is the system the Olympics adopts if it includes Ultimate in future games: This level of officiating allows for the better angels of our nature to prevail, but acknowledges that it can be a lot to ask a player to also act as a referee in the heat of competition.”

The Olympics Could Ruin Ultimate Frisbee
Dave Zirin, Sports Editor at the Nation

“The idea of adding Ultimate Frisbee at this point in time, the idea of demanding that host countries supply wide swaths of green space — 120 yards by 40 — to be monitored by drone aircrafts, guarded by surface-to-air missiles and trampled by television crews, all for the benefit of Olympic sponsors, is a sentiment both obscene and absurd.”

Don’t Make This Another Men’s-First Sport
Zara Cadoux, co-founder of the Girls Ultimate Movement

“Privileging the men’s division — even just at first — would put Ultimate on the well-worn path of other sports, where the disparities between the promotion of male and female competitions relegate women to second-class status. Holding fast to our commitment to gender equity might slow growth in the short term — particularly if we choose not to partner with vendors who are only interested in the men’s game — but our long-term leadership will be what sets us apart.”

  1. Charlie Eisenhood
    Charlie Eisenhood

    Charlie Eisenhood is the editor-in-chief of Ultiworld.You can reach him by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter (@ceisenhood).

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