By Duncan Mackay at the Lenexpo Exhibition Complex in St Petersburg

Flying discMay 31 - Flying disc sports has taken the first step on the road to one day becoming part of the Olympics.

The ruling Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) granted the sport's governing body, the World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF), provisional recognition here today. 

Since the WFDF was founded in 1985, the development of the sport has been rapid and ultimate and the other disc disciplines today are some of the fastest growing sports in the world, due to the simplicity of the basic rules, the speed of the game, its self-officiation, and its appeal with youth, officials claim.

"WFDF welcomes this recognition to join the Olympic family and we confirm the commitment of the flying disc community to the ideals set out in the Olympic Charter," said WFDF President Robert Rauch.

"Our strong value of 'spirit of the game' on the field of play and off of it has always reflected these principles.

"We thank the IOC Executive Board and administration for their support and encouragement, and our Member Associations, board of directors, and athletes for their enthusiasm and commitment to this process."

Fred Morrison dressed as a spaceman with a Frisbee in 1957The sport's inventor, Fred Morrison, dressed as a spaceman with a Frisbee in 1957

The sport can trace its history back to 1947 when Fred Morrison invented the Frisbee, an idea he claimed had come to him ten years earlier, while throwing a popcorn can lid with his girlfriend.

The term Frisbee is sometimes to generically describe all flying discs but is a registered trademarkof the Wham-O toy company and many games are now known as ultimate or disc games.

WFDF claims there are currently 7.5 million active participants globally across the various disciplines and represents 59 member associations in 56 countries.

Flying disc 2There are 7.5 million people across the world who participate in flying sports, it is claimed

"This recognition by the IOC today is a very important milestone for flying disc sports, and should greatly support our grass roots development programs in countries around the world, opening the door for our members to seek their own National Olympic Committee recognition,"  said Rauch.

"However, this is just the start of a long journey as we look to further develop disc sports and fulfill all the criteria stipulated by the IOC so that one day we will have a product which is equal to the current sports of the Olympic Games in both sports excellence and commercial interest."

WFDF joins 33 other international sports federations that are recognised by the IOC but are not currently a part of the Olympic sports programme.

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