Will DanceSport be in the Olympics? A better question might be “How Will DanceSport get to the Olympics?
Most of us in the Competitive Ballroom Dancing would love to either see, or be the dancers on the Olympic podium. While some say that Ballroom Dancing is an art, and should never be in the Olympic games, others argue that the Olympics is a necessary goal for DanceSport. They indicate that competition has always defined modern day Ballroom at the highest levels. And on a practical level, greater public recognition and more significant financial sponsorship of dancers, requires recognition on the Olympic stage.
Whatever your belief is, there has been some development in the last few years, indicating for DanceSport to be part of the Olympics really soon.
First, a bit of background on the journey
1. After abandoning a policy of “splendid isolation” the World DanceSport Federation(WDSF), formerly the International DanceSport Federation (IDSF), became a full member of the General Association of International Sports Federations in 1992.
This is important because the International Sports Federations are recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as administering sports events at a world-class level.
2. WDSF became a member of the International World Games Association (IWGA) in 1995.
This is important because the World Games are organized and governed by the International World Games Association(IWGA), under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
3. In 1997, the WDSF was recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the representative body for DanceSport, and DanceSport became eligible to be included in the Olympic Program.
It was during this process that the term DanceSport was then born. It is used to describe competitive Ballroom Dancing and the “sport” in the name shows the alignment of Ballroom dance to sporting games.
4. DanceSport premiered on the program of the Asian Games in November 2010.
This is important because these games are held with the support of the Olympic Council of Asia.
5. In 2009 World Games in Kaohsiung’s 13,000 person venue, and 2013 Cali’s 18,000 person venue were sold out on both days of the competition.
This is important because the public’s interest in the scheduled sports is important for the economic success of the Olympic games.
In 2013, the IOC voted to drop wrestling (which, by the way, was one of original Olympic sports going back to Ancient Greece). Although no clear reason was given, many believe it was because the public interest in wrestling was flat and not expected to increase.
With the importance of public popularity, the attendance numbers for DanceSport at the World Games certainly would not have gone unnoticed by the IOC as possible predictors of Olympic attendance and television viewership.
So, what is happening now?
In 2013 a new scoring system for dancesport was finalized for all competitions of the GrandSlam Series, for the Latin and Standard events of The World Games, and the WDSF World DanceSport Games.
- The system, known as Judging System 2.0, was first introduced for testing in 2009.
- It is based on the skating system of judging, which is accepted in the Olympics.
- See this article for more information on this system of judging. [Will A New Judging System Change The Way We Dance?]
In December 2014, the IOC scraped the current limit of 28 sports in the summer Olympics, but maintained a maximum number of athletes at 10,500 and 310 medal events.
- Host cities will also be allowed to propose inclusion of one or more additional events for their games.
- This is one of the most important changes for the addition of new sports such as DanceSport. The old system required an event to be dropped to allow a new on, such as DanceSport to be added, which made adding new sport very difficult.
Dancesport is easy to accommodate in many venues, which is also important.
- One of the likely reasons that baseball and softball were dropped after the 2008 Beijing Games, was that some host cities had difficulty finding suitable venues within a reasonable distance from other venues.
- Finding suitable venues would not be a concern for DanceSport.
WDSF has a Vision 2020 goal, which is to “bring DanceSport to the next level and to make WDSF compliant with the highest standards in governance.”
- Some feel that reference to 2020 is primarily a vision for DanceSport at the Tokyo 2020 summer games.
The decision to add new sports to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games program is not expected until August 2016
- After a great deal of public and professional protest, wrestling, was reinstated for Tokyo, but the schedule is not final
- With the new rule eliminating the cap on the number of sports in the Olympics, other sports are expected to be added.
DanceSport at Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics? Definitely a possibility! One thing for sure, is that any sport that has been added in the past, had very energetic voices to make it happen. The voices are not just from associations but from athletes, the public, and anyone who cares. Also, the voices do not just talk to each other, they show support publicly, though videos, blogs, social media, or whatever it takes to be heard. The road to Olympic Gold for DanceSport is definitely being paved, but it will take more than a road to get it there. It will take a lot of energy, from a lot of people, moving in the same direction.