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Olympic Quest Frequently Asked Questions

What is "Strike Gold?"

"Strike Gold" is the marketing theme created by FIQ to characterize the quest for Bowling's inclusion into the Olympics. Under the umbrella of "Strike Gold," the FIQ and its member federations will undertake opportunities to maximize the recognition of Bowling as a potential Olympic sport. This website is one such opportunity.

Why should Bowling be included in the Olympic programme?

Bowling is among the largest participatory sports in the world. Bowling is contested on all five continents. There are 110 recognized member federations of the FIQ. Because of this tremendous participation, Bowling has an unparalleled yet untapped grassroots following. One of the goals of the International Olympic Committee is the widest possible promotion of the Olympic ideals. Bowling can help bring the Olympic ideal to millions of people worldwide. It will also offer significant potential for future marketing income. Other important factors to consider:

Gender equity is important to the IOC—46 percent of Bowling's participants are women. On equal playing conditions, men and women are evenly matched. The only other sport where that has happened is Equestrian.

The IOC(also seems to be leaning toward objectivity—sports that have less to do with the subjective opinions of judges and more to do with who scores the most points. Bowling ranks high in this category, too.

Finally, smaller countries have a reasonable chance of winning medals in Bowling, hence adding to the overall medal distribution.

I went Bowling when I was a kid. ... is Bowling really a sport?

Bowling, like many Olympic sports, does have tremendous participation at the recreational level. You probably played basketball and went swimming as a kid, too. But there is a big difference between recreational sports and elite-level competition. Bowling requires stamina, accuracy, concentration, unfailing muscle memory and control, and the ability to adjust to ever-changing competition field of play conditions--not unlike other Olympic sports.

The athleticism of Bowling is similar to many other Olympic sports: like Swimming and Track and Field, athletes compete as individuals in different lanes against each other but not directly in opposition to each other (compare Boxing or Wrestling); like Shooting or Archery, scores are determined by the accuracy of an object hitting a target; like a Baseball pitcher, a Bowler must have the strength necessary to regulate muscle control so that the delivery of a ball is precisely on target in order to achieve a "strike".

What about other sports already included in the Games?

Inclusion of Bowling in the Olympics will enhance the value of the Olympic Games because of the overwhelming worldwide popularity of the sport. It also can generate additional revenue for the Games.

What are the chances that Bowling will be included in the Olympics?

There is no yellow brick road to this Oz—there are few written rules for a sport gaining acceptance in the Olympic programme. At a minimum, the IOC has said that a sport must be contested in 75 countries for men's competition (and on four continents), and 40 countries for women on three continents. Bowling exceeds these guidelines.

There are other informal, less objective, guidelines that can affect the decision: whether Bowling will bring medals to the host country; whether adding Bowling would cause additional expense or logistical problems; and whether Bowling is popular with the host broadcasters and can generate television coverage. Bowling does not bring additional logistical problems and is a popular television sport (for example, the Professional Bowlers Tour series on ABC-TV averages nearly 3 million viewers per telecast).

As to medal-winning potential of host countries, in the words of an influential IOC member, "the extensive grassroots involvement around the world offers the unique probability that medal winners will emanate from a more diverse group of countries.

What are the proposed elements of the Olympic Bowling program? Will professionals be able to play?

The best 36 men and 36 women will qualify for the Olympic competition through regional competitions. Technical delegates and appeals committee members will make up the officials delegation. The proposed competition format will include no less than three days of competition with 12 games each day; a step-ladder format will be incorporated in the finals day. The specific details will be finalized in accordance with IOC guidelines, once the decision is made to include Bowling in the official programme.

Members of professional organizations are not currently included among the eligible athletes, however, legislation will be submitted to allow ALL the best athletes to compete in the Olympics.

Bolo & Pini Mascot

Who are Bolo and Pini?

Bolo and Pini are the fun-loving mascots of the FIQ. They symbolize Bowling's universal appeal, and provide a reminder that the Olympic dream begins with our children. Look for their appearance on this website in the near future.

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Last updated January 15, 1999