The 2016 Summer Olympics and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

by Caleb on September 21, 2009

Rio 2016 jiu-jitsu

Mighty 600,000 there is an event on the way you need to be aware of! Rio de Janeiro, the birthplace of modern Brazilian jiu-jitsu, is a candidate to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games! I know that our calendar now reads 2009, but in just a few days on October 2nd the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will meet in Copenhagen to decide whether the Olympics will be held in Madrid, Chicago, Tokyo, or Rio.

While Brazil has tried to host the Olympics several times in the past, Rio is a very strong contender now and if it wins it would be the first time in history that the Summer Olympics are hosted in Latin America. But the real reason I am writing about Rio hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics is that if Rio is selected, Brazilian jiu-jitsu will have an historic opportunity for publicity.

Of course, jiu-jitsu is not an Olympic sport. It is not yet even an exhibition sport at the Olympics. But whenever the Olympics takes place, journalists from all corners from the globe produce television pieces on the host country’s culture. Reports on samba, capoeira, Carnival, and our beloved addiction will light up television screens around the world.

So cross your fingers, pray to your jiu-jitsu deity of choice, do whatever you can on October 2 and hopefully Rio de Janeiro will win the bid for the Olympics so BJJ gets the global attention it deserves!

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

aa September 22, 2009 at 8:56 am


Mike September 24, 2009 at 6:33 am

That would be a dream come true to see jiu-jitsu at the olympics. My only concern would be if FILA oversaw the rules of jiu-jitsu instead of the IFBJJ or CFBJJ. I’ve had issues with hearing about FILA ever since I read about how crooked they can be with judgings.

Maybe Ricardo Liborio can talk some sense into them…..

ninjamurf September 24, 2009 at 1:36 pm

That would be AWESOME!

Mike-I concur with your feelings about FILA but I actually see BJJ’s current structure being a problem. With FILA you have one organization who oversees ALL the “stuff.” Rule changes, competition oversight, etc. Don’t we still have 2 major powers running BJJ stuff? The IBJJF and the CBJJF? I could see one of them getting mightily upset at the other if one was given preference for the Olympics. (Although any search on the CBJJF now brings you back to the IBJJF? Did they consolodate?)

vangel September 26, 2009 at 7:53 am

Perhaps Brazil will get some leverage as they will most likely be hosting the World Cup 2014 and will have the infrastructure necessary to host such events.

-And don’t forget Mexico 68… the first time the Summer Olympics were hosted by a Latin American country

Ross Finlayson September 27, 2009 at 7:37 am

Unfortunately I see little chance of BJJ getting into the Olympics. There are already 4 combat sports in the Olympics – boxing, wrestling, judo, and tae-kwon-do – and it’s very hard to get more sports added. (Also, BJJ would be seen as being too similar to judo.)

However, I think that there’s a good chance of ‘submission wrestling’ being added to the Olympics, as a new category under the existing sport of wrestling. FILA already has an international ‘submission wrestling’ tournament (as part of its overall wrestling World Championships), and I can imagine them expanding their existing Olympic wrestling events to include submission matches. A similar thing happened with cycling a couple of decades ago: Mountain biking was added as part of the existing sport of “cycling”, rather than as a separate sport.

Ross Finlayson September 27, 2009 at 7:55 am

Also, as much as I’d love to see Rio get the Olympics, I don’t see it happening in 2016. With its reputation for crime and corruption, Rio would be seen as a very risky choice compared to Tokyo (especially) and Chicago. It’s also hard to imagine major facilities getting built in Rio without local officials getting kickbacks – and the IOC has become very wary of appearances of impropriety lately (after all the hanky panky that went on wrt. the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 2002). Perhaps in some later year, though – especially if their hosting of the 2014 soccer World Cup goes well.

My bet would be on Tokyo or Chicago. Madrid seems unlikely, because I doubt they’ll want to hold the games in Europe twice in a row (plus, Spain (Barcelona) already had it in 1992).

Laurence October 2, 2009 at 8:51 am

Both Chicago and Tokyo are now knocked out leaving only Rio and Madrid left. COME ON RIO!!!!

The announcement is an hour and I can’t wait. How amazing would it be if bjj got into the olympics. Fingers crossed!!

George Eager October 2, 2009 at 1:21 pm

Just as a side note…It wont be the first time that the summer olympics are hosted by a latin american country… Mexico hosted them back in 1968.

trn October 2, 2009 at 6:06 pm

brasil is in south america not latin america and it will be the first time olympics in sth america

Ross Finlayson October 2, 2009 at 9:21 pm

No, “Latin America” unquestionably includes Brazil, and the rest of the South American continent (except, arguably, the Guyanas).

But yes, this will the first Olympics in South America (and the second in “Latin America”).

Laurence October 3, 2009 at 1:41 am

and the winner is……RIO!!!!

mpampis October 8, 2009 at 4:26 pm

so, whats new about bjj?
will it be an olympic game by 2016?

nomilkforsanta October 11, 2009 at 2:16 am

the IOC does not feel BJJ is a sport, so it will not be in the olympics for many years.

GracieBarra403 October 16, 2009 at 5:46 am

Congratulations to RIO de Janeiro for getting the olympics in 2016!

pepe March 16, 2010 at 7:15 pm

No it will not happen because BJJ is just like judo and it’s a boring one especially for guys who doesn’t have a stand up game …

Mike March 30, 2010 at 11:32 am
ricardoramirez September 1, 2012 at 12:42 am

Actually the first time the Olympics were in Latin America was in Mexico City 1968

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