No Favorites in Hunt for New Olympic Sports

May 28, 2009, 3:22 p.m. (ET)

An IOC report assessing the strengths and weaknesses of seven sports seeking to join the 2016 Olympics has put each on a level pegging, according to a source familiar with the review.

Baseball, golf, karate, roller sports, rugby, softball and squash are vying to join the Olympic program.

Around the Rings understands no clear favorites have emerged in the technical evaluation of the sports compiled by the IOC program commission. The IOC Executive Board meeting in Lausanne in mid-June will review the report.

“There isn’t one that stands out from all the others; there isn’t one which ticks all the boxes,” a source tells Around the Rings, adding that “each one of the seven has pluses and minuses.”

The report is based on presentations made by the sports to the commission last November and dossiers providing answers to 80 questions submitted by the international federations in February. Observations made by commission members at major events run by the IFs are also taken into account in the final analysis.

The IOC administration is currently finalizing and packaging the report for submission to EB members.

The seven IFs will make presentations to the IOC’s ruling body at its June 15-16 meeting. Along with consideration of topics such as universality and global development and governance, the impact of the sports on the organization of the Olympics will be another key factor in EB discussions.

With so much information to digest from the program commission report, a first cut of the field is highly unlikely before the EB convenes again in Berlin Aug. 13-14.
IOC President Jacques Rogge, speaking after the last EB meeting in Denver, had indicated that two sports would be shortlisted at the August meeting.

But ATR understands that as many as three sports could go forward to the IOC Session which will vote on any new additions to the Olympic program in Copenhagen around Oct. 6.

The IOC has yet to confirm whether each sport would be voted on individually or two finalists as a bloc.

At the Session, IOC members will vote on the final composition of the 2016 Olympic program, including the potential inclusion of up to two new sports. They will also vote en bloc on the inclusion of the 26 core sports.

With reporting from Mark Bisson.

Your best source of news about the Olympics is, for subscribers only.

(Copyright 1992 2008 Around The Rings, all rights reserved. )