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  • Olympians Call for Sports Program Reform


    Athletes Commission chair Sergey Bubka. (ATR) 
    (ATR) The IOC Athletes Commission is calling for changes in the way the program for the Summer Olympics is determined, including a minimum of 25 sports.

    Sergei Bubka, chair of the commission, says the Olympic Charter needs to be changed to revise upwards from 15 to 25 the minimum number of sports required for each summer Games. The commission wants the number raised to make it more in keeping with the current size of the program, not out of a fear that the program might drop further in size.

    Stil, Bubka and his colleagues don't want to see a repeat of what happened at the Singapore IOC Session in July when two sports were cut, baseball and softball, while none of five sports proposed for the 2012 program survived a series of votes by the IOC.

    Golf, karate, roller sports, rugby and squash were up for approval.

    "We lost two sports and don't get any in," lamented Bubka.

    At the same time, the commission has endorsed a proposal that would makeit easier for sports to be added, lowering the majority needed for a sport to join the Olympics program from 2/3's to a simple majority. IOC President Jacques Rogge has said he believes that vote threshold needs to be lowered and he has asked for comments from the summer federations and ARISF, the association representing IOC-recognized federations not on the Olympic program.

    "It's a recognition the process can be improved," says IOC Communications Director Giselle Davies.

    Franco Carraro, the IOC Program Commission chair, is to meet with the Executive Board on Thursday, when he is likely to r
    IOC President Jacques Rogge, center, with the IOC Athletes Commission in Lausanne. Former President Juan Antonio Samaranch is at his right. (ATR) 
    eceive marching orders to proceed on drafting changes to the process for determining the program.

    IOC Sports Director Kelly Fairweather says proposals for changing the process would need to be considered by the 2007 Session to be used in 2009 when the next review of the summer program is due, this for the 2016 Olympics.

    Unaffected in all of the furor over the summer program is the Winter Olympics. While a program review is due for the winter sports in 2007, no sports are considered serious contenders for joining the program and none seem to face the threat of being cut.

    Fairweather says the Winter Olympics do not face the same pressures on the as do the Summer Games.

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