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Bodybuilding

Why is Bodybuilding not an Olympic sport?

Bodybuilding was close to being recognised as a medal sport in the Olympics in the 1970s, thanks to the tireless efforts of Ben Weider, but the idea never materialised due to various reasons.

Arnold Schwarzenegger (Source: Outlook India)
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Arnold Schwarzenegger (Source: Outlook India)

By

Abhijit Nair

Updated: 2021-06-04T16:00:18+05:30

Why is Bodybuilding not an Olympic sport? Bodybuilding has been in existence for a long, long time. It is nothing but the usage of weight training to develop one's body muscles the way one wants them to be. Over the years, there has been a lot of debates surrounding the inclusion of Bodybuilding, but none has been successful in pushing for the inclusion of Bodybuilding in the prestigious event.

Bodybuilding was close to being recognised as a medal sport in the Olympics in the 1970s, thanks to the tireless efforts of Ben Weider, but the idea never materialised due to various reasons.

So, what are the reasons behind Bodybuilding not being an Olympic sport?

Well, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Olympic Planning Committee (OPC) give the following three different reasons why they do not recognise Bodybuilding as an Olympic sport.

Bodybuilders take in a lot of steroids

The very first reason why the IOC does not recognise Bodybuilding is the use of steroids by bodybuilders. The core essence of the Olympics is drug-free and fair competition between athletes from all across the globe. Besides, the IOC has strict rules regarding doping wherein athletes who are found to have been in the use of any banned drug are banned or stripped of their medals. It is impossible to conduct a fair bodybuilding competition where the bodybuilders have not used steroids and hence cannot be included in the Olympics according to the IOC.

Bodybuilding is not a sport

The second argument which the IOC maintains is that they do not consider Bodybuilding to be a sport. They maintain that there is no athleticism maintained in Bodybuilding – the exact same reason why even Chess has not been able to make it to the Olympics. The bodybuilders certainly undergo immense physical training, but in the end, on the day of the competition, there is no athleticism involved, and it's rather just based on how your body looks, and thus the IOC refrains from recognising it as an Olympic sport.

Bodybuilding is subjective to judge

Another argument put forward by the IOC is that Bodybuilding is subjective to judge. For example, the winner of a sport like 100m sprint or long jump can be easily decided objectively based on who completed the sprint fastest or who jumped the longest distance. The IOC considers this objectivity missing in Bodybuilding, as the final decision has to be taken just by judging the physique of the bodybuilders, and the decision here can be a lot subjective, i.e. every single person might have a different opinion regarding whose physique is better.


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