Since 1896, the Olympic Games have been regarded as perhaps the world’s most important and revered sporting event. No other single event brings together the best athletes in the world like the Olympics. We at the World Ninja League believe in the future of ninja as a short, high-intensity obstacle course sport and we are making moves to see the sport at the Olympic level. However, the process for becoming an Olympic sport is a long and complicated process. This page is dedicated to informing our athletes, their families, and spectators of the process for becoming recognized and setting realistic expectations for when the community can see the sport progress to that level.
The Global Association of International Sports Federations acts as an umbrella organization for all international sports federation. Inclusion in the GAISF is typically the first hurdle in becoming an Olympic sport. The GAISF advises federations that it may take 30 or more years to become officially recognized and begin the Olympic campaign. Currently, the GAISF does not recognize Ninja or obstacle course racing as an official sport.
In order to apply for the GAISF, a prospective applicant must:
Once an application is submitted, the GAISF assesses the application and reviews for any compatibility issues between two applicants. The GAISF council then considers if the Applicant complied with all the requirements and holds a General Assembly vote.
For a sport to qualify for Olympic recognition, it must meet certain criteria. A full list of criteria is available here:
The World Ninja League meets some of these criteria (no conflict with other GAISF members, not for profit) and will meet some others of these criteria in due time (5 years existence).
By far the largest hurdle will be that as a “summer sport”, ninja must have at least 40 active Member National Federations from at least 3 continents. While we have already met the 3 continent criteria, we are still several countries short of this barrier. Even counting countries that have participated in our World Championships, we are less than half way to the 40 mark. Over the coming years, one of the main goals of the World Ninja League will be to expand the international presence of the sport of ninja in order to meet this lofty goal. An example of this is our recent rebrand.
The World Ninja League, and ninja as a whole, still has other criteria that have not been met, such as WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) compliance. At the present moment, there is no drug testing at any level of ninja even outside of the National Ninja League.
To give an example of a sport that recently became an Olympic sport and has crossover appeal to ninja, let us look at sport climbing. The International Federation of Sport Climbing, or IFSC, is the governing body of sport climbing. The IFSC was founded in 2007 but is a continuation of another organization founded in 1997. Even then, the IFSC recognizes the first modern sport climbing event as being held in 1985, meaning there is a 35-year difference between the first event and the first Olympic sport climbing event in 2020. The IFSC holds a biannual World Championship which started in 1991 and first had athletes from 40 nations competing in 2005. Finally, it should be noted that while sport climbing has several disciplines – lead, speed, boulder, and combined as well as team formats – only individual combined was a medal event in 2020.
As a future timetable, the deadline to be considered for inclusion in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris has long passed, and inclusion in the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles is extremely unrealistic. Despite the long road ahead of us, the World Ninja League is committed to growing the sport at a global level and meeting the criteria of becoming a GAISF member and eventually an Olympic sport. We encourage any international organization interested in joining forces to help us reach this goal by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would also be happy to answer any questions regarding our goal of Olympic inclusion from our athletes, families, event coordinators, and spectators.
Thank you for supporting the World Ninja League as we push to make ninja an officially-recognized sport.