Seven sports seek to join the Olympic programme
Seven sports presented their vision for inclusion in the Olympic Games programme today in a series of briefings for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board. The seven sports baseball, golf, karate, roller sports, rugby, softball and squash are vying for two programme slots at the 2016 Games.
After reviewing the merits of all seven, the Executive Board should recommend two for inclusion at its next meeting in August. The IOC Session will make the final decision at its meeting in October, scheduled in conjunction with the Olympic Congress.
All seven sports made interesting and informative presentations. All have something to offer. In the end, the decision will come down to which are the best fit for the Olympic Programme, said IOC President Jacques Rogge.
Reforms strengthen the Olympic programme
The presentations to the Executive Board are part of a broader effort by the IOC to strengthen the Olympic programme and improve the evaluation process.
The reforms began with the decision, in 2002, to conduct a systematic review of the Olympic programme after every edition of the Games to ensure that it remains exciting and relevant. Sports have to show merit to join the programme and to remain on it. At the time the reforms were adopted, no sport had been dropped from the programme since 1936.
The IOC also agreed, in 2002, to limit the number of sports in the Games of the Olympiad to 28. There are currently 26 sports on the programme, leaving two slots open.
Other changes approved two years later added more transparency and fairness to the evaluation process. The IOC established 33 criteria, with an emphasis on universality, popularity and image.
Programme Commission oversees process
The Olympic Programme Commission, composed of IOC members, representatives of International Federations and National Olympic Committees as well as experts, developed the criteria and oversees the evaluation process. The examination of sports seeking to join the programme also includes on-site visits to actual competitions. The Commission will deliver a report assessing the candidate sports to the Executive Board in August.
The fact that so many sports want to be on the Olympic programme reflects the global appeal of the Games. It is important to have a well-defined, transparent evaluation process that is fair to all, said Franco Carraro, Chairman of the Olympic Programme Commission.
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