On the Scene -- Seven Sports Make Olympic Plea in Lausanne
The sports will present at IOC headquarters on Monday.
(ATR) The seven sports vying for a place on the 2016 Olympic program plead their cases Monday at IOC headquarters in Lausanne.
Delegations from baseball, golf, karate, roller sports, rugby, softball and squash all rehearsed Sunday in the Coubertin Room at IOC headquarters..
They will have 30 minutes with the IOC leaders Monday, each sport allowed six presenters and one technical support person.
Presentations must last no longer than 20 minutes, followed by a 10-minute Q & A session.
The sports delegations will sit at one end of the rectangular boardroom table and make their pitches from their seats without a podium. Four 42-inch plasma monitors will be in the center of the room.
Because only 10 minutes separates the presentations, the IOC has asked that the sports bring no backdrops or props.
The representatives are not permitted to offer any gifts to the EB members on the day of the presentation. No handouts, such as brochures and pamphlets, are allowed, either.
The sports will present in alphabetical order, starting at 2 p.m. with baseball, followed by golf at 2:40 p.m., karate at 3:20 p.m., a 30-minute coffee break at 3:50 p.m., rugby at 4:20 p.m., softball at 5 p.m., roller sports at 5:40 p.m. and squash at 6:20 p.m. All times are CET.
IOC President Jacques Rogge has said that the he intends for the EB to recommend two finalists at its August meeting in Berlin. Those sports would then face a vote by the IOC Session in October.
The baseball delegation will include Dutch player Sidney de Jong, Bob DuPuy of Major League Baseball, Don Fehr from the Major League Baseball Players Association and IBAF President Harvey Schiller.
Schiller tells Around the Rings that he plans to conclude his presentation by telling the Executive Board that -- like most of the people in the room -- he has been part of the Olympic Movement as a volunteer for a long time.
"I would not have taken on this responsibility if I did not think that baseball was good for the Olympic Movement," he said.
The seven sports will have another chance to address the EB in Berlin in August, when the field could be narrowed to two candidates for presentation to the full IOC Session in October for a vote.
"We're looking forward to meeting with the committee," Schiller says, "but we don't think this is the end, and hope we'll have the ability to continue the dialogue over the next couple of months and into October when the final decision will be made."
The golf delegation will include the most well-known athletes:
Annika Sorenstam of Sweden and Colin Montgomerie of Great Britain.
Sorenstam is an IGF Global Ambassador and and Montgomerie is the 2010 European Ryder Cup captain.
They will join Tim Finchem, PGA TOUR Commissioner, LPGA of Japan President and World Golf Hall of Fame member Hisako "Chako" Higuchi, IGF Co-Secretary Peter Dawson and IGF Executive Director Ty Votaw for the presentation. Dawson and Votaw have been coordinating golf's Olympic bid.
Golf will also show a film featuring 16 of the game's most prominent players including Tiger Woods and current World No. 1 ranked Lorena Ochoa, plus IGF Global Ambassador Jack Nicklaus describing "the compelling reasons why golf should be reinstated as an Olympic sport after an absence of more than a century," Votaw said in a statement.
World Karate Federation President Antonio Espinos tells Around the Rings he alone will handle the formal presentation to the Executive Board for his sport. He’ll be accompanied by secretary general George Yerolimpis, the WKF sports director and two athletes, all available to answer questions from the EB.
In an Around the Rings Q&A last week, Espinos said karate would be an easy addition to the Olympic program.
“We have a proposal for 120 elite athletes, 60 men and 60 women, so we contribute to gender equity. It’s a spectacular and attractive sport and we get very good audiences when we have big events like world championships. Karate can share an existing venue in the Olympics such as volleyball or basketball; we don’t need additional venues. Also it’s a very cheap sport. We only need two sports competition areas, plus training areas, screens and scoreboards,” said Espinos.
President Sabatino Aracu will lead the delegation from the International Roller Sports Federation, with secretary general Roberto Marotta.
“The Olympic medal is a dream that already alone justifies our full commitment in the campaign for inclusion in the Olympic program. In addition, roller sports are very practiced and followed all over the world, but entrance at the Olympics would give us the visibility we need to continue the campaign to promote our sport even in areas where we are less present, opening a great potential”, said Aracu about the message roller sports intends to deliver the IOC Monday afternoon.
The international lineup for rugby includes Bernard Lapasset, President of the IRB; secretary general Mike Miller; Cheryl Soon, captain of the Australia women's team that won the first Rugby Sevens World Cup in Dubai; Humphrey Kayange, captain of the men's team for Kenya; Agustin Pichot, captain of the Argentina team for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2001 and Rugby World Cup 2007 and Anastassiya Khamova, a player and referee from Kazakhstan.
"We are looking forward to our presentation to the IOC's Executive Board members. Our team will express their passion for the game and their commitment to contributing to the inclusion of Rugby Sevens in the Olympic Games. This is a very important moment in our campaign and we are confident that our new films, combined with personal stories from players who recently performed spectacularly at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Dubai, will resonate with members. We have worked very hard in preparation for this presentation with full rehearsals in London a few weeks ago and again throughout this weekend here in Lausanne. We are feeling good and confident of delivering rugby's case to the IOC."
The BackSoftball delegation includes gold medalists Michele Smith and Jessica Mendoza of the U.S., Danielle Stewart of Australia, Rubilena Rojas of Venezuela, Gergana Handjiyska, the Bulgarian Softball Federation's secretary general, and Lynn Alexander, who will coach South Africa at the Youth World Cup.
Not all of them will be in the presentation room, since the sport has also brought BackSoftball Task Force Co-Chairs Donna de Varona and Dale McMann, International Softball Federation President Don Porter, ISF Deputy Secretary General Ms. Low Beng Choo and ISF Director General Toma Malikoff.
"This is softball's last and most important official presentation before the decision will be made as to whether or not softball returns to the Olympic program in 2016," DeVarona said in a statement. "Our team is confident that softball exemplifies the best qualities of the Olympic movement. It is inclusive, global, adaptable, and lends itself to a multitude of initiatives seeking to teach important sports, health, and peacemaking lessons."
IOC member Prince Tunku Imran of Malaysia will lead the squash team, which will also include N Ramachandran, President of the World Squash Federation, women's world No. 1 player Nicol David of Malaysia, and three other players.
"The team has put an enormous amount of work into Monday's presentation, which is a reflection of how important Olympic inclusion is to the whole of squash, Ramachandran said in a statement. "We are looking forward to the opportunity to address the Executive Board and highlight the many ways in which squash fulfills the criteria to become an Olympic sport."
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