Another more justifiable argument made by the IOC concerns the issue of performance enhancing drug (PED) use in professional bodybuilding. It is no secret that being a top bodybuilder in the professional ranks requires the use of steroids and other PEDs.
The IOC claims that the prevalence of the use of performance enhancing drugs would prevent bodybuilding from complying with Olympic drug policies. The Olympic Games have harsh and vigilant doping rules, which would clash with the common practices of many professional bodybuilders. There is a whole natural aspect of bodybuilding that does not involve doping. The Olympics could continue their drug testing and allow only natural bodybuilders to compete. This is in keeping with the tradition of the Olympics a drug free and amateur competition. So what is the answer? Personally, it seems evident that there is a sizable following that would make bodybuilding a profitable venue as an Olympic sport. However, there are those that argue counter to that.
Another reason, stated by the Olympic Planning Committee and IOC, that bodybuilding should not be an Olympic event is that the judging in competitive bodybuilding was deemed too subjective for an Olympic judge to critique. Well there are numerous Olympic sports judged subjectively. Competitions in diving, figure skating, gymnastics, ice dancing and others are subjectively evaluated, so bodybuilding would fit in perfectly! The IFBB has plenty of judges who assess professional bodybuilding shows. If finding a judge would be such an issue, the IOC or OPC could easily have access to hundreds of judges who can readily judge any Olympic show.
Will bodybuilding ever break the boundaries and become an Olympic event? Only time will tell.
By Dr. Vincent K. Ramsey
Dr. Ramsey is the Director of Doctoral Studies at the United States Sports Academy, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.