THE MAY 29 OLYMPIC DECISION
On May 29, the IOC Executive Board will meet in St Petersburg, to reduce a list of seven entries to three – with the final decision on venues for the 2020 Olympics to be made at the full IOC session in Buenos Aires in September.
To make an indelible point, the combined softball/baseball proposition faces two hurdles – in May to be among the three (out of seven) which are recommended to the full IOC, and, in September to be that sport among three which the IOC elects for the 2020 Games.
The seven are: karate, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, wake boarding, wushu, baseball/softball, and wrestling. To the expressed surprise of the sporting world and major media covering sports, in the USA and abroad, the Executive Board deleted wrestling from what was assumed to be a guaranteed 2020 program. The campaign to restore wrestling began immediately, and included support from media not commonly thought of as sports publications including the Wall St Journal, NY Times and Washington Post as well as Sports Illustrated, the Sporting News, etc,.
Wrestling has conducted an aggressive campaign to convince IOC members, ousting its president, modernizing various rules, and staging marquee events around the world, culminating in an event in Madison Square Garden. Assuming it will at least be one of the three sports recommended, FILA has other events leading up to the time of the IOC decision in September, most are regulars on the schedule but the anticipation is that FILA will step up the programs and publicity.
Observers note that this same IOC Board took wrestling off the list, but it is also true that softball and baseball have been voted down on several attempts to win a majority of eight of the 15 votes on the Board, realizing just 2 votes at a meeting in Berlin.
The expectation is that the Board will make three recommendations. But, the question is whether all three must achieve a majority of eight votes, or will the three top vote recipients be awarded, whether or not they have a majority. The expectation is that a sport must at minimum have a majority vote.