The Reuters global sports blog
Does athletics still rule the Olympics?
Dash or splash? Which is the number one Olympic sport?
Athletics has massive crowds and Usain “Lightning” Bolt torching world records while swimming boasts Michael Phelps ripping off another bundle of world and Olympic records.
Conversations over the past week indicate the argument is heating up.
First, respected U.S. sports analyst Bob Dorfman suggested: “Because of the drug issues, because it (athletics) is not terribly compelling, I think swimming has taken over a little bit in terms of Olympic sports popularity.”
Athletics leaders including USA Track & Field chief executive Doug Logan strongly disagreed. But the splash-dash talk continued with International Swimming Federation (FINA) boss Julio Maglione at the forefront.
During a meeting of sports chiefs in Dubai to discuss the way broadcast revenue from the Olympic Games is distributed, Maglione called for a realignment that would take money from athletics and provide more for sports like his.
“The current distribution does not reflect….the changes in market appeal and changes in sport,” Maglione said.
But the majority of the 28 sports chiefs voted to maintain the status quo, at least through the 2012 London Olympics. Athletics will garner about $35 million of the available $375 million with soccer, swimming, basketball, cycling, gymnastics, tennis and volleyball gaining $18 million each.
Is that a fair shake or as Maglione said, are times changing?
I travel the world to watch athletics and take much pleasure in it. And you? Dash or splash?
PHOTO: Usain Bolt of Jamaica is pictured with his headphones before the USA versus the World men’s 4x100m race at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 24, 2010. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer