One of the candidates for the IOC Presidency predicts that Wrestling will be readmitted, but that other new sports are possible too (although he doesn’t mention 2020).
International Olympic Committee (IOC) presidential hopeful Denis Oswald distanced himself from the body’s current leadership on Monday, saying wrestling’s 2020 Olympics exit could have been handled better and that more sports could join the Games.
The Swiss head of the international rowing federation, who as a long-time IOC Executive Board member was part of the decision-making process until 2012, said the IOC’s February exclusion of wrestling from the 2020 Games was not well handled.
The ancient sport, part of all Games since 1896 apart from the 1900 Olympics, would no doubt win back its Games spot after make a three-sport shortlist for inclusion in 2020, Oswald said.
Baseball/softball and squash are the other two shortlisted sports and the IOC will elect one winning sport at its session in Buenos Aires in September. IOC President Rogge said last week the organisation had made no mistake in the controversial affair.
“I am no longer on the Executive Board…but I must say I was very surprised that wrestling was eliminated,” Oswald, bidding against five other candidates for the presidency, told reporters on a telephone conference call from Lausanne.
“The (wrestling) federation maybe did not make the effort but I think there were other ways to warn them because wrestling is a basic sport (of the Games) and I am convinced they will come back.”
“We should consider that (the Olympic programme) with a more creative approach. We could have solved the problems if we had this more creative approach.”
Oswald said that despite an IOC cap of 28 sports he could see more sports joining in the future if existing ones reduced events that were not “universally” popular or the number of athletes.
The IOC started the process of revamping the Games to keep up with a younger audience but could now end up voting back in the same sport it excluded months ago and making no change to the Games programme from the 2020 Olympics onwards.
“What I propose is not to limit strictly at 28 sports but reduce the representation of some sports’ disciplines. Even in major sports there are some disciplines that are not universal,” he said without naming specific sports.
“A review in such a way can reduce events and athletes and make room for other sports,” he said.