Thursday, 2 August 2012

Should snooker be an Olympic sport?

The short break in the snooker calendar could hardly have come at a better time as I've found myself engrossed by the action at London 2012.

Swimming, rowing, shooting, judo and cycling. I've been watching it all as Olympic fever has got me well and truly gripped.

I've caught myself cheering on sportsmen and women competing in events I barely know the rules in. These are the effects of being hooked by Team GB.

As with any major news or sporting event, snooker's very own Twitter community likes to join the debate. And this week, the question has been posed as to whether snooker should qualify as an Olympic sport?

Sorry to be a killjoy, but the answer from me is a big fat 'No'.

I personally think the sports that work best in the Olympic format are those in which winning the gold medal would be considered the pinnacle of the sport. There is no way victory at the Olympics could ever be compared to triumph at the Crucible. Being a sport with such a firm tradition away from the Olympics means it may be difficult for this new event to earn the kind of credibility it deserves when compared to other tournaments.

It's for this same reason that I don't think football or tennis have enough clout against the rest of sports in the Olympic offering. They are both great sports but the Olympics feels like a bolt-on to the rest of tournaments instead of an integral part of what the sports already stand for.

Another big reason for voting against snooker joining the Olympics is because of what I see when I look around at the Olympics. Most of them are short, quickfire rounds of events that allow the viewers to dip in and out, get a taste and enjoy.

I fear the same experience would not be guaranteed from snooker. To change the format of traditional game of snooker to fit into the Olympics mould would feel like a disservice to the game. It would portray a false image of the what the sport of snooker actually is and would be perceived by many as a process of dumbing down.

In my opinion, the best asset of snooker is its ability to create a slow-burning drama. This doesn't fit with the style of the rest of the sports in the Olympics. I fear snooker would be labelled dull and boring.

Sorry folks, but I think snooker should stay well away from this particular party.


  1. Gary, I started to disagree with you, but the more I thought about what you said, the more I mostly agree with you.

    There's only one reason why I disagree with you and it's big: visibility. For you, knowing about snooker is taken for granted. In Britain, aren't snooker places nearly as common as Starbucks are here in the States?

    Snooker is a novelty here. When my family and friends ask me what I'm into right now, I have to explain what snooker is. Maybe they've seen one snooker table in their entire life, in a foreign film or when stationed in Europe in the military.

    Here in the entire 50 States, there are fewer than 400 listed tables in Compared with the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, we have five times as many people. I would guess that most mid-sized cities have more than that many tables, and I'd even hazard a guess that most have 400 regulation-sized tables.

    In the entire state of California, which is about 2/3s the geographic size and population of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, there are only 65 listed tables, with only 45 regulation-sized.

    I would guess that in most other countries in the world, the figures would be comparable. So having snooker as a demonstration sport -- assuming the various TV networks around the world would give some exposure, which is a big ask, I concede -- there might be some growth in the game.


  2. Then many of the sports should be scrapped from olympics. As you said olympic football is nothing compared to the World cup, so does tennis and Grand Slams.
    Even in cycling the world championship is something bigger than olympics and it's the same with basketball and probably with some other sports I don't give a damn about.

    I think it would be good just to give snooker a try. And I see more sense in having snooker in olympics than some stupid field hockey or equestrian with it's horse dancing s***.

  3. Thanks for the comments. I am not saying the Olympics has to be the biggest prize in the sport, but it should be an integral part of the prizes available in the sport. I'm unsure whether an Olympic gold in snooker would even carry as much weight as a middle of the road ranker. this is just a guess though.

    I take people's point about exposure but I'm not sure all publicity is good publicity for snooker. I'd hate people to judge the game purely at what they saw on an Olympic showing. if it got more people into the game, fine. But there's no guarantee of that.

  4. Make them best of 19's all the way then I'd love it!!

  5. IMO, if snooker were to become an olymic sport, it would hvae to include country's from around the world to give a good spread, thankfully however that is now the case, and thus there would be a comparable spread of nationalities to that in the badminton, i.e. GB and mainly far eastern with a smattering of European countries, but no african or american countries. The thing is however, there are currently only 2 none GB players in the top 16, thus you wouldn't have 14 GB players and 2 others making the final 16. Any more and the format would have to be to short on frames. Thefore, you;d be going all the way down to Canadian Floyd Ziegler in 97th palce in order to get a good spread. That would certainly mean that winning the event was no where near winning the worlds, but IMO, still a most memorable achievement and something to be far more proud of than winning for example the Welsh Open, or a PTC!