Unique Sports Advent Calendar – December 1: Ultimate

And now, the first of our unique sports, ultimate frisbee! (Because Frisbee is trademarked, they can’t use it in the name of the sport. The sport as a whole is run by the World Flying Disc Federation.)


The origins of ultimate lie in Amherst College student traditions, and, indeed, predate frisbees (they used pie tins and the like). However, Jarrod Kass and fellow Amherst students began making a serious-ish sport in the mid 1960s, eventually teaching it to high school student Joel Silver, who produced The Matrix! (It’s a small world. FYI, his Bacon number is 2.)

He and fellow students at Columbia High School, in New Jersey, developed official rules, and by 1970, had interschool games going on. When they graduated, they took the sport to colleges, where it flourished. In fact, by 1975, Yale had hosted a tournament, won by Rutgers University.

National FDAs (Flying Disc Associations) followed, with Australia’s being formed in 1976 as the Australian Frisbee Association. In 1984, the World Flying Disc Federation was formed to standardise the sport, and the first official World Championships were held in 1986, with the United States winning the men’s and women’s championships, with Sweden winning the juniors.

How To Play

Ultimate is seven a side, played on a 100x37m field. There are 23 metre long end zones for you to score in. To score a point, you need to catch the disc in the end zone on the full.

At the start of the game, the teams each stand in their end zones. One person throws the disc, and everyone can run out once the disc has been released.

If you have the disc, you cannot move with it, and need to throw to a teammate within ten seconds. If you teammate catches it, they have possession, but if it hits the ground, goes out of bounds, or is intercepted, the disc is turned over and it goes to the opposition.

Ultimate is a non-contact sport, and nonincidental contact is a foul. Despite this, the game is self-refereed, with player relying on the Spirit of the Game.

First to 15 wins, or the highest score after 90 minutes. Subs are allowed.

Who’s On Top?

The 2016 World Championships were held in London in June, featuring 115 teams from 39 nations. The United States won the men’s, women’s, mixed, men’s masters, women’s masters, and Guts tournaments (more on Guts in a later post).

2016 World Championships – Men’s Results

  1. United States
  2. Japan
  3. Australia
  4. Canada
  5. Great Britain
  6. Colombia
  7. Belgium
  8. Germany


Also, the WFDF maintains a world ranking:

WFDF World Rankings

  1. United States (368)
  2. Canada (338)
  3. Great Britain (265)
  4. Japan (263)
  5. Germany (256)
  6. Australia (244)
  7. Colombia (187)
  8. France (175)
  9. New Zealand (157)
  10. Switzerland (140)


http://www.afda.com/ is the website of the Australian Flying Disc Federation, where you can see their upcoming events (there’s a hat tournament in Albert Park on December 10th.)

As well as their third-placed finish in the men’s tournament in 2016, they finished second in the mixed and men’s masters, and third in the women’s masters.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s