Giant on the move
What’s on the Olympic programme?
Struggling? The list runs from A for Aquatics to W for Wrestling. (Although ”aquatics” to my untrained eye seems to span a series of water sports – swimming, diving and water polo).
For baseball and softball, Beijing will be bittersweet — they will not feature in London in 2012 when the programme will be cut to 26 sports. They are the first sports to be axed from the Olympics since polo in 1936.
Both are relatively recent additions – baseball made its debut as a medal sport in Barcelona in 1992 and softball in Atlanta four years later. As quintessential American games they struggled to muster the international backing needed to keep them on the programme.
The American women have swept softball golds in all three Olympics, but Cuba leads the United States 3-1 in baseball golds. The USA baseball team, which does not include heavyhitters from the major leagues, will at least be represented in Beijing after failing to qualify for the Athens Olympics.
The IOC plans to cut the programme to 25 sports by the 2020 Olympics, leaving a number of federations in fear of losing the unique exposure offered by the Games.
There is much talk of getting golf back on the programme after an absence of more than a century. Rugby union sevens too is a candidate and Twenty20 cricket might be fun.
What do you think should be in the Olympics and what should be dropped?