It is often stated that Sambo was a demonstration sport
at the 1980 Summer Olympics
in Moscow, USSR
. Youth Sambo was demonstrated in the Games' opening ceremonies; however, Sambo was not formally recognized as demonstration sport. This common error in history books is noted in several sources including History of SAMBO
by A. Makoveski and Lukashev's History of Hand-to-Hand Combat in the First Half of the 20th Century: Founders and Authors
Furthermore, the official documents of the 1980 Olympic Organizing Committee do not mention Sambo as a participating sport in the Games.
. As a side note, demonstration sports were suspended after the 1992 Summer Olympics.
In 1968, the FILA
accepted Sambo as the third style of international wrestling. In 1985, the Sambo community formed its own organization, Federation International Amateur Sambo (FIAS)
. In 1993, FIAS split into two organizations, both used the same name and logo and the two groups were often referred to as FIAS "East" (under Russian control) and FIAS "West" (under US and Western European control). This split mirrored the last days of Cold War politics of the time as well as the recent break-up of the Soviet Union. In the U.S., disagreements between the sport's organizers and the rise of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
in the 1990s slowed down the growth of Sambo before the success of several Sambo fighters increased its popularity a decade later.
In 2005, FILA reached an agreement with FIAS "West" and re-assumed sanctioning over sport Sambo.
However, in 2008, FILA again discontinued sanctioning sambo and sambo is now notably missing from the FILA website.
At present, only FIAS sanctions international competition in sport and combat sambo however these are unrecognised by FILA. Rumours rising in 2012 stating that Sambo will be included as a demonstration sport in the 2016 Olympics are therefore not supported by any facts, and thus Sambo is still a very long way from maturing into an Olympic sport, notwithstanding the effort that is being put into the matter.