The term wild card refers broadly to a tournament or playoff berth awarded to an individual or team that has not qualified through normal play.
In international sports, the term is perhaps best known in reference to big international sporting events such as The Olympic Games or Wimbledon. Countries which fail to produce athletes able to meet performance requirements to compete are granted "wild cards", which enable them to send competitors to tournaments even if those competitors' abilities are below the required standards. In some instances, wild cards are given to the host nation in order to boost their chances. However, in Olympic and World Championship competitions in track and field and swimming, nations are automatically allowed to enter two competitors. Thus these are not to be considered wild cards which are always granted by the tournament organizers. In some other sports in Olympics, such as judo, archery and badminton, wild card practise is in use, and they are granted by the respective sport federations. On rare occasions, a competitor who gained entry by wild card succeeds in winning a medal; Kye Sun-Hui won gold in judo at the 1996 Summer Olympics, and Goran Ivanišević won the 2001 Wimbledon Championships.
In North American professional sports leagues, wild card refers to a team that qualifies for the championship playoffs without winning their specific subdivision (usually called a... Read More