Friday, February 27, 2009

Making a pitch

The IBF made its pitch in Tokyo, to get baseball back in the Olympics. Currently, baseball is competing with six other sports for two open spots. The other sports are: golf, karate, softball, rugby sevens, squash and roller speed skating. Yeah, that's the competition.

That's the proposal. So what will happen:

The seven sports are competing for a maximum of two openings on the 2016 program. The decision will be made in October at the IOC session in Copenhagen,
where the 2016 Olympic host city will also be selected from Chicago, Tokyo, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro.

In Copenhagen, the IOC general assembly will vote en bloc on the continuation of the existing 26 sports. The voting procedure for the potential addition of one or two new sports has yet to be finalized.
Rugby sevens, squash, golf, karate and roller sports were each considered for inclusion in the 2005 vote but all failed to win a required two-thirds majority. The system has since been changed to require only a simple majority for addition of new sports.

Here's what some of the other sports are proposing:

The International Golf Federation is proposing a 72-hole stroke play Olympic tournament for men and women, with 60 players in each field. In the case of a tie, a three-hole playoff would be held to determine the medalists.The top 15 players in the world rankings would qualify automatically.Golf organizations have agreed to adjust their summer schedules to ensure that no major championships conflict with the Olympic tournament.Golf instituted regular drug-testing last year, putting the sport in line with Olympic requirements.

Rugby was played at the 1900, 1908, 1920 and 1924 Olympics.The International Rugby Board is proposing rugby sevens tournaments for men and women with 12, 16 or 20 teams.While 15-a-side rugby union is the premier version of the game, IRB
secretary general Mike Miller said sevens has “unique attributes” that fit Olympic competition.Miller said the Olympic tournaments can be played over two or three days, “require limited infrastructure and overlay investment and can take place in existing stadia.”

The World Squash Federation says the sport is played by over 20 million people in 175 countries and could easily be integrated into the Olympics.“Requiring just two perspex courts that can be located anywhere, it is an extremely cost effective and highly exciting spectator sport,” the federation said. “Squash can also state with certainty that an Olympic medal would be the highest honor in the sport, bar none.”

The roller sports federation proposes five men’s and five women’s speedskating races over three days, with 50 men and 50 women competing in sprint and distance events. Speeds in sprint races can reach 60 kph (37 mph).“It is a young, dynamic, fast-paced and athletic spectacular sport,” FIRS secretary general Robert Marotta said.

The World Karate Federation claims 100 million members in 180 countries and says it is the most popular martial arts in the world.

Well, good luck to them. I can see how those sports should have a higher profile than baseball. As I said before, I think baseball and softball are out. Golf and rugby are in. The Europeans are running things now, and they don't want anything messing with soccer.

I think we're going to find out pretty soon how Bud feels about it all. I already know, I'm just waiting for him to confirm it.

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