Roller Sports Proposes a Short Program of Outdoor Speed Skating
In the hopes of winning a berth in the 2012 Olympics, roller sports officials have submitted a bare-bones, budget-minded proposal that includes a quick two days of competition and only one of the roller disciplines -- speed skating.
The International Roller Sports Federation submitted the proposal to the International Olympic Committee late last year.
The proposal calls for an abbreviated version of the closed-circuit road racing portion of the annual Inline World Championships.
Included are four events: a 300 meter time trial, a 500 meter sprint, a 5 kilometer race, and a 20 kilometer elimination. (More about these later.)
All the races would be skated on an outdoor loop 400 and 600 meters around.
Only 72 skaters -- 36 men and 36 women -- would participate in the Games. Skaters would be drawn from five regional competitions, one each in Europe, the Americas, Asia, Oceania (Australia and New Zealand) and Africa.
Europe, the Americas and Asia would each send 20 skaters (ten men and ten women.) Oceania would send eight; Africa, four.
All skaters would compete in all events.
The proposal was designed to add relatively little expense to the Olympic extravaganza, which last summer included 11,100 athletes competing in 300 events.
"We are trying to get our foot in the door and because of that, we are trying not to cost the Olympics any extra money," said Charles Wahlig, the vice-president of the roller federation's speed committee, which drafted the Olympic proposal.
Skaters would only reside in the Olympic Village for four days. And since all events would be on the road, the host country would not have to worry about the expense of building a track or stadium.
"There's no venue costs in our proposal," Wahlig said. "This is just a really great proposal. I'm very excited about it."
The Olympic Invitation
The International Olympic Committee invited the roller federation last fall to submit the proposal. It also invited proposals from the governing bodies of rugby, golf, squash and karate.
The Olympic Committee is thinking of changing its roster of summer sports. The changes, if any, would not take effect until the 2012 Games.
The roller federation believes that speed skating, of the three major roller disciplines, has the best shot at Olympic inclusion, Wahlig said.
One of the strikes against roller hockey was that, as a team sport, it would require a large contingent of skaters.
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Copyright © 2005 by Robert Burnson