A few weeks before the Olympics begin in London, a group of athletes put on an exhibition of a sport they say deserves a spot in the Games: quidditch.
Quidditch teams from Britain, the United States, Canada, France and Australia played in the sport’s first major international tournament and staged an exhibition match as the Olympic torch passed through Oxford, England.
Ground quidditch was adapted in 2005 by students at Middlebury College in Vermont from the flying broomstick game in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels.
Since then, the sport has spread to 25 countries and has about 700 teams, mainly based at U.S. colleges. There is now a rule book and a World Cup.
“We thought it would be a great time to piggyback off the Olympics, being held in the home country of Harry Potter, and show people this is an exciting sport,” said Alex Benepe, one of the sport’s founders.
Spectators looked on with amazement as the players, some wearing goggles, rode their brooms across the field.
Not all were convinced quidditch would make the Olympics.
“It’s all right, but it’s a bit weird,” said 10-year-old Tom Bound from Oxford, a Harry Potter fan.
“I don’t think it’s for the Olympics,” added his mother, Emma Bound. “It’s probably better when the broomsticks actually fly.”