In 1996 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) formally granted recognition to the World Confederation of Billiard Sports (WCBS) as a pool and billiards overseer. The three diverse sports of Pool, Cushion Billiards and Snooker are now linked in large or small measure to the WCBS in 200 nations, a major step toward inaugurating cue sport competition at the Olympic's international stage.
Efforts to drive pool to the Olympics have been undertaken since the 1950's and have included three major obstacles:
1. International recognition awaited to recognize cue skills as sport and not mere games (although, ironically the international sporting venue is the Olympic Games.
2. The IOC demanded an international organization to prepare standards and coherence for cue sports.
3. In the games of pocket billiards (pool) and snooker, depending on who can afford to participate and which games are up for grabs, one nation or continent could dominate all medal competition.
Regarding issue #1, cue sports are sports, requiring intense knowledge, concentration and skill, honed over decades of competition, to emerge as the world's best players. The WCBS answers issue #2 well.
Issue #3 has long since been solved as players on the international scene like Efren "The Magician" Reyes and countless others have come to the pinnacles of American Pool while Americans have found some success in international cue sports.
Hopes are now high for Pool in the 2012 Olympics in London and beyond!
Go more in-depth on the history of pool in the olympics and the tireless efforts of cue sports to join the Olympic movement at WCBS Headquarters.
And for more exotic Olympic sports, visit:
Go Past The Goalie in Olympic Handball