Founded as the United States Tenpin Bowling Federation in the summer of 1989 by the American Bowling Congress and Women's International Bowling Congress, USA Bowling was the worldwide representative of the United States in international competition until the formation of USBC in 2005.
Governed by a 12-member board which included three athletes, USA Bowling was recognized as the sport's governing body in the United States by the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Federation Internationale des Quilleurs.
USA Bowling coordinated all amateur international competition promoted by USOC or FIQ, and conducted the National Amateur Bowling Championships. In addition, it was the leader in providing instruction and coaching programs to help bowlers improve.
Prior to USTBF's founding, ABC and WIBC jointly held Group C status with the USOC as bowling's governing body since the sport's acceptance by the USOC in 1986. The USTBF was eventually established to comply with the USOC Constitution and the Amateur Sports Act adopted by Congress in 1978. The USOC granted Group A membership to the USTBF in 1989.
The Team USA bowling program was initiated by ABC and WIBC in 1986 with the first National Amateur Championships. Dan Nadeau of Las Vegas and Cora Fiebig of Madison Heights, Mich., were the first men's and women's national amateur champions.
The United States has been represented in international competition since the 1930s when the late Dr. Joe Thum, a New York City proprietor later elected to the ABC Hall of Fame, organized teams to travel to Europe. Prior to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany, a large delegation of male bowlers participated in a special event.
The FIQ was formed in 1951 with nine countries but now boasts more than 100 member nations. It first applied for International Olympic Committee recognition in 1963, but was continually refused until being officially recognized in 1979. Bowling was an official exhibition sport in the 1988 Games.
The U.S. did not become a FIQ member until 1961, making its official international debut in the 1963 FIQ World Championships in Mexico, dominating the competition. Since that time other nations have improved tremendously, increasing the competition for the Americans.