The results of our first community survey are in. In that survey, we asked the question: Should Obstacle Course Racing be its own sovereign (independent) sport or should it fall under the umbrella of an existing sport (e.g. pentathlon, track & field, etc.)?
Overwhelmingly, the community voted in favor of OCR being its own sovereign sport (98%), while 2% voted that OCR should fall under the umbrella of an existing sport (with Pentathlon, Decathlon, and Track & Field being cited as potential suitors).
So what do these results really mean?
- For starters, we should acknowledge that the respondents represent not just a select group of people who know about OCR, but more specifically, people who saw the survey through IOCRU and traditional OCR media “channels”. As such, they may already be predisposed to a “separatist” perspective.
- Also, as some mentioned in online forums, it’s important to consider what insights can we can glean from such lopsided polling results and what they may illustrate? The most common interpretation (and one shared by many of us at IOCRU) is that there is currently insufficient information available to convince voters that affiliating with another sport would be beneficial. Simply put, people can’t or don’t see what any potential upside could be. In those we spoke with directly, this was a shared concern across both affiliation and Olympic recognition.
- Additionally, online commentators in favor of “independence” voiced concerns about obstacle course racing being “watered down” and that it would “change under the umbrella” of another sport. Most likely, these comments best demonstrate the passionate nature of these participants of whom are protective of the sport in its current state.
- Lastly, though outnumbered greatly, the minority in favor of joining an existing sport cited some potential benefits such of affiliation as “a way to fast track IOC recognition” or an avenue to “get OCR into the Olympics,” which many speculated could provide additional notoriety (and with it participation) for the sport.
All in all, between the survey results and lengthy public debates, one critical notion jumped out to us: much more work needs to be done to educate the community on the potential benefits and drawbacks of being affiliating with an existing sport or achieving IOC recognition.