Olympic Inclusion Update

May 14, 2009, 2:26 p.m. (ET)
The International Federation for Boxing (AIBA) has officially submitted its proposal for women's Olympic inclusion to the International Olympic Committee  (IOC).  The AIBA proposal for 2012 specifies five women's weight classes and ten men's weight classes: the five women's weights range from 47 to 75kg.  The proposal also specifies that there would be 40 women boxers and 246 men boxers.
The IOC's Programme Commission (PC) is in the process of reviewing the AIBA proposal.  The Programme Commission can accept it, or ask AIBA to amend its proposal.  Once the PC and AIBA have finalized it, this final proposal will be submitted to the IOC Executive Commission for their vote.
The IOC EC vote is expected to take place at one of two upcoming IOC meetings scheduled for mid-August and early October.  By mid-October, the 2012 Olympic Game Program will be determined.
The upcoming vote has the potential of becoming a milestone in the Olympic sports movement.  All other Olympic sports include female athletes.  In 2004 and 2008, boxing was the only sport without women's participation.  It is possible that the 2012 Olympic Games will mark the first-ever Olympics with all 26 sports including female athletes.
  • The upcoming vote, then, is an opportunity for the IOC to send a message to all International Federations (IF), National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and National Governing Bodies (NGBs), that female athletes are valued and a valuable part of the Olympic movement.  It will serve as a reminder to the world that the IOC supports the participation of all qualified athletes regardless of gender.
  • Further, support by the IOC means that more financial support will come from IFs, NOCs, and NGBs.  (In the United States, these organizations are AIBA, the US Olympic Committee (USOC), and USA Boxing, Inc.)  Olympic inclusion represents a beginning to the end of institutionalized bias. 
  • The IOC can lead the way in showing its strong support for women athletes. The upcoming vote will no doubt bring attention to the international women's sports movement.  Boxing represents the most traditionally "masculine" of all sports, and women boxers have worked for more than 100 years to break the barrier of participation.  Boxing carries significance for all female athletes.
  • Finally, the upcoming vote can be a boon to Olympic-style boxing.  The addition of female boxers will bring new possibilities, new heroes, renewed viewership interest, and new marketing opportunities for the sport.
If the IOC votes in favor of five women's events for 2012, the IOC takes a strong step toward offering all boxers the dream of participating in the Olympics, sends a strong message that they value women's inclusion, and makes great strides toward a truly inclusive Olympic Games.