Is base jumping an Olympic sport? The ancient Greeks created the Olympic Games. There’s no doubt they would have welcomed base jumping as an event if it were possible at that time.
However, while you may have enjoyed this year’s Tokyo Olympics but noticed an absence of any form of skydiving or aeronautic sports.

Every Olympic Games sees the addition of new sports. This year’s event in Tokyo saw the addition of two extreme sports, rock climbing and surfing; the events were safe and proved to be highly entertaining to watch.

Let’s look at whether base jumping has ever been, or ever can be an Olympic sport. We will also take a look at competitive base jumping and its major international competitions.

Is base jumping an Olympic sport?

Is base jumping an Olympic sport?

Base jumping has never been an Olympic sport. Neither has skydiving or any notable form of aeronautic sport. Hang gliding was scheduled to be included at the 1940 Tokyo Olympics; but the games were canceled due to World War II. The sport is still yet to make its Olympic debut.The sport is still yet to make its Olympic debut.

To qualify for the Olympic Games, new events must first meet the criteria of the Olympic Committee. Among the considerations are; how long has the sport has existed? Is the sport elitist inaccessible to amateurs? How popular and relevant is the sport to the hosting nation? How much would the event cost to host?

When we put base jumping against this criteria, it does fair too well. While base jumping isn’t an elitist, it isn’t overly accessible. Due to the equipment and experience needed, very few skydivers get to attempt a base jump. Base jumping is a very young sport; Base jumping equipment has only been commercially available in the last two decades and has only grown as a global sport in the last 15 years. Sports such as Cricket, Darts, Polo, and Bowling are not currently competing at the Olympics; they could all argue to trump base jumping in every one of the above categories.

Another significant issue is that the Olympic Committee requires a sport to have a widely recognized international governing body. Base jumping seriously lacks a governing body that takes responsibility for the sport, organizes events, and instills firm rules and safety procedures.

Will base jumping be a future Olympic sport?

Will base jumping be a future Olympic sport?

While a governing body is sure to form as the sport progresses and grows in popularity, some severe issues still make it difficult for the sport to qualify for the Olympic games. One of those is reputation. Trespassing and illegal base jumping is a serious issue. The sport gets a lot of attention for the few base jumpers who take pride in law-breaking jumps. It would certainly need to reshape that reputation to appease the Olympic organizers.

Safety and accessibility are other significant issues. The Olympics will not want to host a sport with any risk of death or severe injury. With an estimated death rate close to one in 2,500 jumps, this would scare away any potential Olympic invitation. The risk factor also makes the sport highly inaccessible to the average amateur sportsman. For base jumping to compete at the Olympics, there would need to be a much safer version of the sport, limiting the risks involved.

While it could be some time before base jumping is at any Olympic games, there is some optimism that indoor skydiving could make a debut appearance at the Paris 2024 Olympic games. Indoor skydiving is fast growing in popularity and is a more accessible, low-cost, and safe sport. Paris is the home of Parachuting sports. Paris resident André-Jacques Garnerin made the first-ever parachute jump in 1797.

Are there base jumping competitions?

Are there base jumping competitions?

Competitive base jumping began in the 1980s. Early competitions saw base jumpers compete over the most accurate landings and artistic freefall. Several iconic tall buildings have hosted base jump competitions in recent years, including the Shanghai Tower in China, the Petronas Towers in Malaysia, and Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Formed in 2012, the World Wingsuit League began and has grown hugely popular in China. Shown on 10 of the country’s popular tv networks and some events have received more than 390 million viewers.

The Base Jump Extreme World Championships is an annual competition that selects 20 base jumpers to compete over a series of disciplines. It has already hosted athletes representing 21 different nations. Events cover performance and artistic sections. To qualify, entrants must have completed a minimum of 150 base jumps, with 10 of those being within three months of the competition. Contestants also need to have a least one recommendation from a renowned base jumper to verify their safety and skill level.

What are the base jumping records?

What are the base jumping records?

The actual records or limits in many base jump disciplines are unclear. Base jumping is a serative sport and many jumps go unrecorded. But here are some of the notable base jumping records: 

The highest recorded base jump currently stands at 25,300 feet, performed off the Cho Oyu (the sixth highest mountain in the world). Russian base jumper Valery Rozov did it on October 5, 2016. He beat the previous record of 23,690 feet, which he also held. Sadly, he died a few months later attempting another high-altitude base jump in Nepal.

tJumping from Felix Baumgartner set the record for the lowest recorded base jump ever recorded. Jumping from the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Baumgartner jumped from 95 feet.

Captain Daniel G. Schilling set the most base jumps recorded in 24 hours. American, Schilling completed 201 base jumps from the Perrine Bridge in Twin Falls, Idaho on July 8, 2006. The Perrine Bridge is one of the most famous base jumping spots in the U.S.