All enthusiasts of padel dream of one thing: to see this sport make its debut at the Olympic Games. The growth of the little yellow ball is exponential and inevitably attracts attention. It seems inevitable that the padel will one day join the ranks of Olympic sports, but when?

How to become an Olympic sport?

Since 2014, the Olympic Committee has encouraged each host country to integrate new sports and events into the Olympic program of its edition. A sport becomes an Olympic discipline when it is recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). To obtain this recognition, it must meet 33 criteria.

One of the essential criteria is its international recognition. First of all, the sport must be lwidely practiced around the world, more to be organized and regulated by an international sports federation.

Olympic games padel

In practical terms, sports requiring heavy infrastructure, such as skydiving or motorsport, are generally ruled out.

Next, the IOC evaluates more technical criteria, such as the history of the discipline, its spectacular appearance, its comprehensibility, its universality, the image it projects, as well as the development potential of the federation representing it.

Olympic Games new disciplines

The Olympic program is constantly evolving. The appearance of new disciplines during previous editions, such as BMX, rugby 7 and skateboarding, is an example of this. So why not consider the padel as a future Olympic sport? Its integration into the Olympic program also seems to be on the right track.

Le padel at the Brisbane Games in 2032?

In June, le padel entered the European Games, thus marking a first step before a possible integration into the Olympic program. This opportunity to embark on the Olympic stage represents a pivotal moment for this sport with the yellow ball.

runway padel central european games krakow

The President of the European Olympic Committees, Spyros Capralos, predicts a promising future for the padel by declaring "By attending the matches and seeing the site filled with people, imbued with enthusiasm and the mixture of music and sport, it is easy to understand why the padel growing so fast all over Europe. "

However, the question is: when will this happen? It is important to note that a sport must be approved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at least seven years before its Olympic debut. Although the padel brings together nearly 25 million players worldwide, it does not yet meet all the criteria required by the Olympic Committee for possible inclusion.

  • For the moment, the padel has an international federation: the FIP
  • The federation is recognized by the IOC
  • Discipline is subject to the obligation and regulation of WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency)
  • Does not include motorized equipment
  • Cependant, le padel is not practiced in (at least) 75 countries and 4 continents for men and 40 countries spread over 3 continents for women.

It is this last point that poses a problem.. For the moment, the FIP does not respect the minimum number of participating countries, in particular for the male category.

As we told you in a previous article, according to a graph of Monitor Deloitte, the 126 tournaments organized during the year 2022 took place in only 30 countries.

Monitor deloitte - tournaments in 2022

Even though padel is recognized as one of the fastest growing sports worldwide, the discipline has yet to broaden its scope and increase its popularity internationally. As we mentioned earlier, for a discipline to be included in the Olympic Games, it must be approved at least seven years before the edition concerned.

Therefore, it is impossible for the padel be part of the Paris Games in 2024, or even those of Los Angeles in 2028. However, if the padel succeeds in increasing its international presence beyond the required threshold, he could do well its debut as an Olympic sport in Brisbane 2032. Hoping this materializes.

Vincent Gallie

A fan of oval football, round ball but also racket sports, he was stung by the padel during his adolescence in Galicia. As comfortable in front of the camera as behind a microphone, Vince will be able to bring his vision and expertise as a fan of the little yellow ball.