Olympic Inclusion ...
"There are some that could be set aside for more exciting sports"
A top roller sports official says she is "very pleased" that a process has been put into place for removing and adding sports to the Olympic Games.
"Of course, all the sports that are in the Olympics believe that they should stay in the programme," said Valerie Leftwich, the first vice president of the International Roller Sports Federation (FIRS).
"But there are some ... that are maybe a little out of date and could be set aside for more exciting sports."
Leftwich and other federation officials are pushing to have inline speed skating included in the 2012 Olympics.
Roller sports is one of five being considered for inclusion. The others are golf, karate, rugby and squash.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced a procedure last month for sprucing up the roster for the 2012 Summer Games. But it's not clear that any changes will actually be made.
The procedure requires IOC members to vote on all 28 of the current summer sports by secret ballot. Any sport that fails to win a majority will be cast from the Games, in which case members will vote for replacements.
"Some of the sports that are currently in the Games are very old, which is great if they are still being followed and still being played," Leftwich said. "But some of them died years ago."
Leftwich did not say which sports she was referring to.
Sports thought to be vulnerable to exclusion include equestrian and modern pentathlon, which is an odd (a relatively unpopular) event that combines fencing, shooting, swimming, running and show-jumping (on horseback).
Other sports that appear vulnerable are scandal-torn taekwondo and weightlifting, which has been plagued by doping charges.
But IOC members have a tradition of resisting any cuts from the roster.
IOC president Jacques Rogge tried in 2002 to give the boot to three sports: baseball, softball and modern pentathlon. He argued their limited global reach justified their exclusion. But IOC members said, no.
The last sport dropped from the Games was polo, which was part of the show in 1936 but absent when the Olympics resumed after World War II.
The IOC vote is scheduled for July 8th in Singapore.
(posted on May 10, 2005)
Copyright © 2005 by Robert Burnson