History of Ultimate

The first beginning....Columbia High School

From 1965 or 1966 Jared Kass and fellow Amherst students Bob Fein, Richard Jacobson, Robert Marblestone, Steve Ward, Fred Hoxie, Gordon Murray, and others evolved a team frisbee game based on concepts from American football, basketball, and soccer. This game had some of the basics of modern ultimate including scoring by passing over a goal line, advancing the disc by passing, no travelling with the disc, and turnovers on interception or incomplete pass. Jared, an instructor and dorm advisor, taught this game to high school student Joel Silver during the summer of 1967 or 1968 at Mount Hermon Prep school summer camp.

Joel Silver, along with fellow students Jonny Hines, Buzzy Hellring, and others, developed ultimate beginning in 1968 at Columbia High School, Maplewood, New Jersey, USA (CHS). The first sanctioned game was played at CHS in 1968 between the student council and the student newspaper staff. Beginning the following year evening games were played in the glow of mercury-vapor lights on the school's parking lot. Initially players of ultimate frisbee (as it was known at the time) used a "Master" disc marketed by Wham-O, based on Fred Morrison's inspired "Pluto Platter" design. Hellring, Silver, and Hines developed the first and second edition of "Rules of Ultimate Frisbee". In 1970 CHS defeated Millburn High 43-10 in the first interscholastic ultimate game. CHS, Millburn, and three other New Jersey high schools made up the first conference of Ultimate teams beginning in 1971.

The Start of Tournaments

The first organised tournament, The National Collegiate Championships, was played on April 25th in 1975. Eight teams took part in a tournament in Yale. Rutgers University won the final against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with 28-24. In 1976 the Yale tournament was expanded and renamed into the National Ultimate Frisbee Championship. Rutgers won again.

Ultimate was also in 1975 introduced into the World Frisbee Championships.

World Championships Begin

In 1983, the first true World Ultimate Championship was held in Gothenburg, Sweden. Two club teams, representing USA, won open and womens divisions. The European countries were represented by National teams.

In 1989, ultimate was shown as an exhibition sport during the World Games in Karlsruhe, West Germany. That year also saw the first World Club Ultimate Championship, in Cologne, West Germany.

In 2001, ultimate was included as a medal sport in the World Games in Akita, Japan along with disc golf. Six countries were invited to compete based on their finishes in the WFDF 2000 World Ultimate Championship in Germany. Canada won the World Games gold medal with an overtime victory over the United States.

Ultimate Today

In 2009 the World Games in Kaohsiung, Chinese Taipei and Ultimate outdrew all other sports with more than 50,000 paid attendance. The same occured at the 2013 World Games in Cali, Columbia where the paid attendance was over 45,000.

Ultimate is now played by an estimated 500,000 players in over 50 countries, with Ultimate Canada having over 31,000 members. The 2014 WUCC in Lac Como, Italy was the largest Ultimate meet to date, with over 4800 players and 163 teams from 40 countries participating.

Further historical facts can be found at the WFDF website:  http://www.wfdf.org/history-stats/history-of-ultimate