IOC adds golf, rugby to program behind backing of Rogge
One more reason to buy a ticket to Rio in 2016?
Rugby can start to scrum and golf can tee up after both sports were officially admitted to the 2016 Olympic program on Friday in a majority vote of the IOC membership in Copenhagen.
Golf won admission by a vote of 63-27 with one abstention. Rugby passed with a more decisive 81-8, with two abstentions. The two sports were put up to a vote after the IOC's 15-member executive committee had nominated them in August for addition to the program from a list that included squash, karate, roller sports and the re-inclusion of baseball and softball.
With the addition of golf, the Olympics, which opened its doors to the likes of
While rugby received strong backing across the IOC, there was some concern this week that golf would have more trouble. Golf received the fewest votes of the candidate sports when it applied for addition to the 2012 program four years ago. As rugby agreed to abandon its prestigious world cup during Olympic years, some members expressed reservations about adding golf on the theory that athletes would consider Olympic medals less prestigious than other events such as the Masters or British Open.
But the possible addition of Woods is huge gain for the Olympics. Despite the Olympics claims to champion amateurism, professional star power rules and the addition of recognized international sporting figures could encourage television networks and sponsors to spend more money on the Games.
The question is, how long will this gain last? Though elite players such as Woods have said they would participate in 2016, there is still concern that enthusiasm for Olympic golf will wane as the novelty of playing at the Games for medals rather than money wears off. NBA players enthusiastically courted spots on the first Dream Team in 1992, but other stars cited prior commitments and family conflicts in begging off in subsequent years. Still,
Among those who traveled to Copenhagen this week to pitch (and putt) on behalf of her sport,
Though Woods did not appear in person, he did take part in a video during the sport's 20-minute presentation, saying that golf in the Games would be "beneficial for both the sport and the Olympic movement." Other former and current players in the video included Sweden's
International Golf Federation acting president
The version of rugby approved by the IOC, rugby sevens, is a modified version of the more traditional 15-aside game. There would be 12 teams in each of the men's and women's rugby tournaments, and contests at the Olympics will last 15 minutes. The sport has already been a part of the Asian Games for many years. Several IOC members, including Australia's
As expected, by a vote of 88-1, with three abstentions, the membership re-elected Jacques Rogge to another term as IOC President. Rogge, who represented his native Belgium as a sailor at three Olympics, was given an eight-year term at the Moscow session in 2001.
As per IOC rules, the 67-year-old retired surgeon was eligible for another four-year term after the first one expired. Rogge has said he does not intend to remain a voting IOC member after his final term as president expires in 2013.
The IOC voted in six new members on Friday, bringing the committee to 112 members:
No Americans were considered for new posts.
Some comments speak for themselves. Three weight classes of women's boxing will be added to the Olympics for the first time in 2012. The advancement of women athletes in the Olympics has greatly enhanced the Games, but don't tell that to
"You may accuse me of old fashioned. I have difficulty imagining young women [with] good figures, who are going to be victims of punches and who will have black eyes, who will maybe bleed, who will receive maybe hard knocks on their breasts, which are meant to feed babies. I would hate to see women hurt and maybe faint in the ring. But I will vote in favor of the decision taken by the executive board."
No sooner had the decision about the 2016 Olympics been decided than it was time to look ahead to 2018. Cities wanting to bid for the Winter Games nine years away have to send in applications by Oct. 15. Pyeongchang, South Korea; Annecy, France; Munich, Germany; and Harbin, China, are expected to apply.
Denver and the region of Reno/Tahoe had expressed interest in mounting a bid, but it seems unlikely that the U.S. will submit a city for consideration, given the poor result for Chicago and the disarray of the USOC.