Hey, Olympics Committee: Did you catch the Spartan World Championships in Lake Tahoe this weekend?
It was an amazing event. The competition was fierce. The athleticism and grit on display was mind-boggling. Cody Moat and Lindsay Webster won the men’s and women’s individual medals, respectively, and Team USA took home the team championship.
The Olympics will be returning to Los Angeles in 2028. You know what would make those Summer Games extra special? The inclusion of obstacle course racing. Folks who know me know that I’ve been advocating for this for some time, including in this Sports Illustrated article last spring. I have no intention of stopping until OCR is an official Olympic event.
You may think that obstacle course racing is something new, but the original Spartans—the namesakes of Spartan Race—competed in the original Olympics. There was a pentathlon that included some elements of the OCR stuff we do today. So we’ve definitely got historic credentials, but just as important is keeping the Olympics current and fresh. Anyone who has competed in or watched Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge or America Ninja Warrior on NBC knows that OCR has millions of participants and fans.
Just take a look at the numbers. This year there will be 170 Spartan Races in more than 30 countries around the world. According to USA Obstacle Course Racing (USAOCR), OCR is the number-one mass participation sport in the world with more than 4 million participants—40 percent of them women. As the Sports Illustrated story pointed out, that’s “more than marathons, half-marathons, and triathlons combined.”
Things are already starting to happen. USAOCR has been recognized by the International Obstacle Sports Federation as our country’s governing body and the sport’s first U.S. National Championship took place in Hialeah, Florida, this past April as part of—you guessed it—a Spartan race.
We are well on our way to becoming established as an international sport and satisfying the International Olympic Committee’s required criteria: universality, financial viability, governance, development of the sport, care and cultivation of athletes, history and tradition, and the value brought by the sport.
I know this might be the longest marathon of my life, and I’ve run ultra 100s, but my philosophy is to announce something publicly and put yourself on the hook for it. Or as I like to say: fire, ready, aim.
So make no mistake: OCR is coming to the Olympics. See you in L.A.
Ready to give Spartan a try? Here’s everything you need to know to find your race.