AN OLYMPIAD IN OUR FUTURE?
IOC Press Release
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed July 4 the inclusion of ski slopestyle (men and women), snowboard slopestyle (men and women) and snowboard parallel special slalom (men and women) on the sports programme of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.
The decision was taken by the IOC Executive Board (EB) ahead of the 123rd IOC Session in Durban, South Africa, and follows the inclusion in April of ski halfpipe (men and women), women’s ski jumping, biathlon mixed relay, figure skating team event and luge team relay.
“We are very pleased with the addition of ski and snowboard slopestyle and snowboard special slalom in the Olympic Winter Games programme,” said IOC President Jacques Rogge. “Such events provide great entertainment for the spectators and add further youthful appeal to our already action-packed lineup of Olympic winter sports. We look forward to welcoming all the athletes to Sochi in 2014.”
The Olympic Programme Commission (OPC) initially proposed the inclusion of the events to the EB in Acapulco in October last year. The OPC studied the proposal of the individual International Sports Federations and, at the request of the EB, compiled a detailed analysis of all candidate events at their respective world championships last winter. The decision was also based on an operational feasibility study undertaken by the organisers of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games.
The EB also agreed on a shortlist of sports that will be considered for inclusion in the sports programme of the 2020 Olympiad. The sports are: baseball, karate, roller sports, softball, sports climbing, squash, wakeboard and wushu, one of which could be added to the 2020 sports programme to be voted on by the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires in 2013. The programme can include a maximum of 28 sports.
SPY Comment: Softball was on the short list for 2016 but did not make the cut. Note that the 2016 Olympiad has the maximum number (28). Neither the IOC press release nor the Porter statement address the issue of whether a current sport will be dropped, to make room for one of the eight, or the venue increased to 29. Ever optimistic, ISF President Don Porter issued this statement today (July 12):
PLANT CITY, FLORIDA (USA) — Having returned to the world headquarters from last week’s International Olympic Committee Session in South Africa, International Softball Federation President Don Porter today expressed great joy on the sport being back in the running for a spot on the Olympic Games programme.
“Without question we are thrilled to have softball on the IOC’s shortlist for the candidate sports for 2020,” the ISF president said. “That being said, the real victory, of course, would be a decision in our favor come 2013 when the vote is taken on which sport the IOC will add for the Summer Olympics.”
Mr. Porter added that, “We’ve never given up on restoring dreams. Just as the athletes give it their all on the field, we must ensure that we make every effort to return softball to the Games so that a new era of players can get the chance to compete on the biggest stage like others did in 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008.”
The ISF president stated that, “Softball brings so much to the Olympic Movement. We know that the IOC wants a sport whose best athletes will compete at the Games. It should go without saying that a sport clear of doping problems is a must. And a sport that is global, relevant, and not financially burdensome to the host organizing committee round out the attributes that have been stated as being of prime importance. We are confident that softball delivers on all of those criteria.”
Mr. Porter noted that an ISF Olympic Legacy Committee had already been formed this year in anticipation of the shortlist announcement, with ISF Secretary General Ms. Low Beng Choo as the chairperson. He said that convincing the IOC that softball should be the one sport that they add in 2013 for the 2020 Games will be a global effort that will require and involve support from not only the worldwide softball community and the ISF’s current 127 member national federations, but others from within the Olympic Family, National Olympic Committees, sports ministries, media, government, and the corporate sector, “who we need to win over.”
Already there are over 23,000 followers at www.facebook.com/BackSoftball, which is set to become the digital headquarters for the Olympic reinstatement campaign.