As the top ten T.G.I. Friday’s bartenders prepare for the World Bartender Championship (WBC) Finals on March 14, 2011 in Dallas, Texas, bartenders and fans from across the globe are getting involved and supporting bartending’s bid to be recognized as an Olympic sport.
Brian Zachau, the 2009 T.G.I. Friday’s Greatest Bartender in the World, petitioned the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in November 2010 to request bartending as the next Olympic sport. Bartending is a viable consideration as an Olympic event since it has been in existence for centuries, is practiced on every continent and is represented by the International Bartenders Association in 57 countries.
“Brian, our bartenders and most importantly, the fans, have the power to get bartending officially recognized for the sport it is,” said Trey Hall, chief marketing officer of T.G.I. Friday’s. “Given our deep history and involvement with the sport of bartending through our World Bartender Championship, Friday’s is also behind this movement to make bartending an Olympic event.”
Despite silence from the IOC, and the noticeable omission of bartending from the 2012 Olympic schedule released on February 15, Brian Zachau and other Friday’s bartenders are still encouraging fans to show their support by signing an online petition to the IOC. Fans can also show their encouragement by voting for their favorite bartending finalist or demonstrating their personal athletic bartending skills by uploading videos or photos for a chance to win Friday’s food and drinks for the rest of the year.
2011 marks Friday’s 20th anniversary of the WBC Finals and the crowning of “The 2010 Greatest T.G.I. Friday’s Bartender in the World.” Each year more than 8,000 Friday’s bartenders showcase their knowledge, skill and bartending flair in WBC competitions which originate at the local store level and progress to regional and divisional rounds leading up to the Finals on March 14.