Can bowling (10-pin) count as a sport that can be added to the Olympic program?

Is there a chance it may feature in the Olympics one day?

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    "What is or is not a sport" is off-topic here, as defined in the help center. Moreover, asking if there is a chance bowling will be featured in the Olympics one day is purely hypothetical (ie, primarily opinion-based).
    – user527
    Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 3:52
  • 2
    The update renders this question a duplicate at best, and if not, the answer will be derived from the same criteria for any sport in "Can [sport] be chosen as a sport in the Olympic games?"
    – user527
    Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 18:16

3 Answers 3


Bowling is definitely a sport. According to the linked Wikipedia article on Bowling at the 2014 Asian Games

A total of 177 athletes from 19 nations competed in bowling at the 2014 Asian Games.

Since the Beijing Olympics, baseball has not been played in the Olympics. Is baseball not a sport?

A lot of sports are competing for a limited number of games in the Olympics. The primary reasons to limit the number of sports are lack of sports facilities (eg, London would have had to build baseball stadium for baseball if it had not been dropped from the program), popularity of each sport (Baseball is not popular in Great Britain), and the short period during which the Olympic Games must be held. If bowling becomes more popular with bigger viewership in the world, it could be featured in the Olympics.

These games (2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics) will see the return of baseball and softball competitions to the Olympic programme, as well as the debuts of karate, skateboarding, surfing, and sport climbing.

Source: Wikipedia article on 2020 Summer Olympics

Baseball will feature in 2020 Tokyo Olympics again. Baseball is the most popular sport in Japan.

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    I was not aware that popularity is the main factor in whether a sport is featured in the Olympics or not. sports.stackexchange.com/a/256
    – user527
    Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 3:56

A sport is a competition in physical and sometimes spatial prowess with well-defined rules. A sport may be a type of game, but many games are not sports.

Chess is definitely a game, but definitely not a sport because there is no aspect of physical skill.

Darts and billiard games are not physically strenuous, but do test physical prowess and spacial abilities, and so can be considered to be sports.

Bowling is similar: low physical demand but involving physical skills. Thus it is a type of sport.


The first determining factor to define something a sport is, whether the activity is purely dependent on skill or includes luck by definition. (We're not talking coin tossing to determine which team starts a match on which side of the field, since that's pre-game and not part of the game itself.)

That's why for instance chess counts as sport, while poker doesn't. Ski jumping for instance is also partly luck due to the weather influence on the result. But because there are compensational measures defined by the rules, it's sill a sport.

So according to that "rule", bowling is of course a sport, because the activity itself does not include any luck by definition, but is entirely based on the skill of the player.

  • As opposed to the Wikipedia article on Sport, I don't share the preception that sport necessarily has to do with competition since I can go jogging or gain muscle without the urge for competition, but simply for keeping myself healthy.
    – Stacky
    Commented Aug 14, 2016 at 20:39
  • Sounds like you've defined Exercise. Sport definitely has some kind of ranking, whether it be a leaderboard or a head-to-head competition.
    – Criggie
    Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 1:39
  • Chess is definitely not a sport. It is a game. Hint: if you can play it on a computer with little or no change to your skill level compared to the non-computerized version then it is not a sport. Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 3:33
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    To be fair, I can only speak about the german law since I am german. As per §52 par. 2 no. 21 of the german tax code, chess is regarded as sport. But by the way, chess players are burning more energy, just by thinking, than a dart player. So why should sport only be defined by the amount or shape of the physical activity? Is aiming with a pistol at a real target that much different from aiming with a laser gun at a screen? (Former is olympic btw.)
    – Stacky
    Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 9:43

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