Taking the silver medal was exactly where Fred Roumbanis thought the U.S. should finish to move forward bass fishing’s bid to become an Olympic sport.
Roumbanis was part of an eight-man team that represented the United States in the 13th annual Black Bass World Championship in South Africa in early October. Behind the second-biggest bag, the team of Roumbanis and James “Worldwide” Watson propelled Team USA’s climb from fourth to second on Day 3.
“It’s was an incredible deal for us to get the silver medal,” Roumbanis said. “I think the chances of it being accepted by the Olympic committee will grow better with us not winning right now – we don’t want to go in and win all the time. I think it will help other countries’ confidence that they have a shot.”
Getting other countries fired up about bass fishing – America’s angling passion for decades – might just be the right tactic to garner Olympic acceptance, the Bassmaster Elite Series pro figured. The seeds have been set for the International Olympic Committee to consider bass fishing as a competitive sport. There are organizations around the globe working in that direction, which are being facilitated by the international tournaments.
“This (tournament) is part of the process of fishing sanctioned international events,” Watson said. “I was told the paperwork is in the Olympic committee’s hands, but there’s no guarantee it will become an Olympic event.”
Certainly not for Tokyo in 2020, said Tony Forte, vice president of U.S. Angling, a nonprofit out of Wisconsin that deals with all international American fishing efforts. If things go right, bass fishing could get in as early as the 2024 Olympics, and “if it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen by 2028,” he said.