YES, REALLY: Bowling Seeks to Become Olympic Sport

Learn how the governing bodies of professional bowling are seeking to make it an Olympic sport.

Bowling is a fun way to blow a couple of hours with your friends. But would you consider it a true test of athleticism, one that the ancient Greeks might have aspired to master? Probably not.

Earlier this month at the World Bowling Tour Finals in Las Vegas, the Professional Bowler's Association tested a new scoring system, hoping to grab the attention of the International Olympic Committee. 

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Bowling is a fun way to blow a couple of hours with your friends. But would you consider it a true test of athleticism, one that the ancient Greeks might have aspired to master? Probably not.

Earlier this month at the World Bowling Tour Finals in Las Vegas, the Professional Bowler's Association tested a new scoring system, hoping to grab the attention of the International Olympic Committee. 

The trial scoring system actually draws from golf, emphasizing the "frame" as analogous to a hole-by-hole score in match play golf. It is designed to be simpler and less confusing for spectators and to quicken the pace to increase suspense and excitement.  

"I love tradition, but it's vital that we become an Olympic sport," World Bowling President Kevin Dornberger told the Associated Press. "If we have to be dragged into the 21st Century to do that, I'm OK with that."
The old rules involved 10 frames and an accumulated score, with a maximum of 300.
The new rules are below, courtesy of PBA.com.
  • A match will involve 12 frames.
  • In each frame, each player will throw one shot.
  • If Player A gets a higher pin count than Player B, he/she will win the frame.
  • If both players strike, the frame will be tied.
  • If neither player strikes, but each has the same pin count, each player will try to convert the spare. If both successfully convert their spares, the frame will be a tie. If one player has a higher pin count than the other after two shots, that player will win the frame.
  • Scoring for the match will reflect who has won the most frames (example, 1 up, 2 up, etc. All-square means the match is tied.)
  • At the point one player has won more frames than frames remain (example: 3 up after 10 frames), he/she will be declared the winner.
  • If a match is "all-square" after 12 frames, the tie will be broken using the single-frame format described above until the tie is broken.
Oh, and if the idea of bowling as an Olympic sport still sounds too crazy to be true, note that bowling made an Olympic appearance in Seoul in 1988 as an exhibition event. If the organization begins its bid to enter the games next year, the earliest it could reach an Olympiad would be the 2024 games.

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

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