FanDuel - WFBC

June 24, 2007

Rogge unveils plan for Olympic programme: At the 2005 IOC Congress, baseball and softball were voted off the Olympic island for 2012, leaving the summer Olympics with 26 sports. Yesterday Jacques Rogge announced his plan for the future: there will be 25 "largely untouchable" core sports, with the possibility of adding three more on a rotating basis for each edition of the Games.

posted by Amateur to other at 09:36 PM - 33 comments

Rogge's plan requires a change to the Olympic Charter, which means it needs two-thirds approval from the delegates to the upcoming Congress (more here -- self-link) on what the Charter says about this issue). This seems like bad news for baseball and softball, although it at least offers hope that they can get into the Games on a sporadic basis. I like the idea overall. No speculation from Rogge about which of the current 26 sports will be excluded from the core group.

posted by Amateur at 09:41 PM on June 24

This begs the question: Are the Olympic Games a sport?

posted by owlhouse at 07:52 AM on June 25

Sounds like a good idea to me.

posted by squealy at 08:20 AM on June 25

Ur Olympic Games sux. I like the idea too, although I'd drop more than just one sport. We should have some sort of SpoFi book on what sport is going to get axed from the 26. I'd vote to get rid of tennis or football (if I had a vote).

posted by JJ at 09:07 AM on June 25

What is the point of having 25 untouchable sports?

posted by bperk at 09:15 AM on June 25

What is the point of having 25 untouchable sports? At a guess, to avoid a situation where sports federations are spending all their time getting other sports thrown out of the Olympics to make room for more events/heats/matches/foolishness for their own sports. The politicking and sinking-of-knives for just this one round of musical chairs is going to be appalling as it is -- imagine having that on an ongoing basis. (p.s. JJ, "football" = soccer in the Olympics, not a great candidate for axing)

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:55 AM on June 25

lbb, maybe they call it soccer on NBC's Olympic coverage, but the IOC still calls it what it is. Why would it not be a great candidate for axing? I was under the impression (perhaps mistakenly) that one knife in baseball's Olympic back was the establishment of the Baseball World Cup, which, it was thought, would outstrip the Olympic competition in terms of the game's global significance. Football has had its own World Cup since 1930, the final of which tends to be the most widely-viewed sporting event on the planet. So why do we need an Olympic competition? As a casual (or "lazy" if you prefer) football observer, I could probably name the winners of the World Cup going back maybe 50 years off the top of my head. I don't think I could tell you who has won gold at the Olympics... ever. Tennis sort of suffers from the same thing I think. The Olympic title is very much a second tier prize within the wider context of the sport as a whole.

posted by JJ at 10:21 AM on June 25

Football has had its own World Cup since 1930, the final of which tends to be the most widely-viewed sporting event on the planet. So why do we need an Olympic competition? this may be true for the men's side. however, as a fan of the women's game i think they need an olympic competition. and you can't drop the men without dropping the women too. so, personally i think it's important enough to keep in.

posted by goddam at 11:23 AM on June 25

lbb, maybe they call it soccer on NBC's Olympic coverage, but the IOC still calls it what it is. Uh, I got that. I was referring to that world-wide game of immense popularity in which the ball is neither thrown nor carried in the hands. Why would it not be a great candidate for axing? I was under the impression (perhaps mistakenly) that one knife in baseball's Olympic back was the establishment of the Baseball World Cup, which, it was thought, would outstrip the Olympic competition in terms of the game's global significance. That's not a knife, that's an excuse. Football has had its own World Cup since 1930, the final of which tends to be the most widely-viewed sporting event on the planet. So why do we need an Olympic competition? Alpine skiing also has its own World Cup and a world championships. The existence of significant elite-level international competition does not mean that it makes no sense for a sport to be at the Olympics. In fact, you can argue that it's the sports without such competition that are on the shakiest grounds for inclusion into the Olympics (hence the situation of baseball and softball).

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:01 PM on June 25

The existence of significant elite-level international competition does not mean that it makes no sense for a sport to be at the Olympics. I think the rule should be: If you win a gold medal at the Olympics, would fans of the sport consider it the pinnacle of achievement in that sport? Baseball? No. It's the World Series, and everyone knows it. However, given the international nature of the sport, I could see where a real national pride in the event could keep it alive. Ice hockey has the Stanley Cup, but you'll be hard pressed to see better competition (and determination) from the players than during the Olympics (especially in the hockey-rich nations of Canada, Russia, Sweden and Finland). Skiing? Yes. They have "World Cup" events, but in terms of prestige, the gold medal winner is still bigger. Soccer/football? No. The quad-annual World Cup is considered the peak of the sport. Tennis? No. Just like golf, there are more important individual tournaments held that year that mean more and draw better players.

posted by grum@work at 12:48 PM on June 25

At the risk of having rotten eggs and vegetables thrown at me, I beg the question of the Olympics relevance in a sporting context. Certainly the host nation receives a fiscal benefit from the tourism generated and all the other Olympic periphery that comes along with it, but has the sporting aspect lost some of it's luster? Do people care deeply what sports are included or get excited anymore at who has won what? Am I being US-centric because we aren't, apparently, as dominant as we once were? Have the X games contributed to a "watering-down" of international competition? Sorry about all the questions, but I just wonder why I can't seem to think of the Olympics as an exciting, must see event anymore. Baseball is to me, none the worse for it's exclusion and I can't think how the sport of futbol could benefit from being an Olympic sport.

posted by THX-1138 at 01:02 PM on June 25

It depends on the sport, THX. For swimming, the Olympics is the pinnacle of competition. It doesn't matter that Olympic Trials are actually more competitive for Americans that the actual Games; it doesn't matter what you do at World Champs: the Olympics is it. I would imagine the same is true for track and field. So, like grum said, maybe they should just keep the sports for which the Olympics is the big prize.

posted by dame at 01:58 PM on June 25

How about dumping every event in which a team, including bench players, consists of more than, for the sake of argument, 8 players. This would keep all of those sports where individual accomplishment is paramount, and still allow things like track and field relays, swimming relays, etc. If one accepts the idea that the modern Olympic Games (as conceived in the 19th century) are the continuation of the ancient games, cutting out team sports make perfect sense. I extend this argument to the Winter Olympic Games as well. Annual or biennial championships for the team sports could be sanctioned by the IOC as well as each sport's international federation, and Olympic style medals awarded. Doing the above could greatly reduce the cost of staging the games, thus opening the possibility of hosting them to smaller countries. Too, the venues would not have to be spread out over quite so large an area in order to accommodate some of the team sports.

posted by Howard_T at 02:51 PM on June 25

I dunno about all this "pinnacle of competition" stuff. No matter how you slice 'n' dice it, an Olympic competition is just one event: one tournament, one race, one whatever. The elite can go to the Olympics, sure, but if they also contend for titles whose outcome is determined not in a single event, but over the course of a season or a series, how can you really call the Olympics the "pinnacle of competition"? It can be a very great big deal that everybody wants to win, maybe more than they want to win the [insert season-long sports title here], but it's not a harder competition. It's one event, and in some sports, it's not even the most difficult single event (going back to alpine skiing, again, the Olympic courses are always somewhat easier than the World Cup courses, because the standard to get in the race isn't as high).

posted by lil_brown_bat at 03:13 PM on June 25

The elite can go to the Olympics, sure, but if they also contend for titles whose outcome is determined not in a single event, but over the course of a season or a series, how can you really call the Olympics the "pinnacle of competition"? I suppose you could argue that it is the pinnacle because it is a single event. The question isn't Can you bring it over a series? Rather it is, Can you do it when it counts, when there are no do overs, no averages to make up for it? Likewise, for swimming (since it is what I know), getting into the Olympics as an American is so hard that it is the ultimate prize in a way. You get to go because you were one of the top two in the deepest swimming nation in the world. And then there is the question of exposure: for some sports the only wide coverage is that linked to the Olympics. I don't know that World Champs coverage would ever meet that, even if the Olympics were gone. So I think pinnacle can mean a lot of things: maybe it doesn't have to be "hardest."

posted by dame at 03:45 PM on June 25

I was referring to that world-wide game of immense popularity in which the ball is neither thrown nor carried in the hands. Except by goalkeepers (or Maradona... or Lionel Messi). I was aware that you got it, lbb, I was merely suggesting that your formula was flawed and that football does not equal soccer in the Olympics. The IOC call it football, because that's what it's called. Some good points raised - Goddam, that hadn't occurred to me about the women's game (of which I'd have to confess to not being any kind of fan), and I'm with grum all the way on the "pinnacle of the sport" thing (and blogged to that effect last week). lbb, with the skiing, I know the World Cup as being like the Formula 1 World Championship (i.e., spread out over the course of season rather than one intense competitive meet). How do the skiing World Championships work? Are they like a winter Olympics but only for skiing? I don't really follow it so I haven't a clue. In your opinion, as the big skiing fan that I'm inferring you are, is the Olympic gold not the one to win? I know there will be counter arguments for other things requiring more of an athlete in terms of consisten performance, but in a fantasy world where you get to be a ski genius, but you only get to win one big title, would most people not pick the gold medal? THX, I for one love the Olympics - so many stories of triumph and disaster, so much on the line (four years of training for 10 seconds of action), and so many different sports, most of which I never get to see for the period between games.

posted by JJ at 03:52 PM on June 25

On review, lbb, I think you just answered most of my questions before I even asked them.

posted by JJ at 03:54 PM on June 25

The elite can go to the Olympics, sure, but if they also contend for titles whose outcome is determined not in a single event, but over the course of a season or a series, how can you really call the Olympics the "pinnacle of competition"? It can be a very great big deal that everybody wants to win, maybe more than they want to win the [insert season-long sports title here], but it's not a harder competition. It's one event, and in some sports, it's not even the most difficult single event (going back to alpine skiing, again, the Olympic courses are always somewhat easier than the World Cup courses, because the standard to get in the race isn't as high). I don't disagree with any of the above. However, the public perception of most of the olympic sports (team sports excluded, more or less) is that the Olympics are the pinnacle of competition. Speaking of Alpine Skiing, Bodie Miller comes to mind as an example of an athlete who dominated the World Cup only to ingloriously flame out at the Olympics and become a public disgrace (OK, maybe a slight exaggeration, but the guy really made an ass of himself) Also, there is something about the 'do or die" quality of the olympic event. One bad fall during the season doesn't disqualify you. One bad fall at the Olympics and you are done. There is something about competing on the razor's edge that I have always found so appealing about the Olympics.

posted by cjets at 06:30 PM on June 25

Well, I hope they keep short track speed skating in the Winter Olympics. Of all the "new" sports that came into the Olympics in the past 20 years, this one is definitely the most entertaining. Individual or team events, it's just go-go-go, and with the occasional crash, it's got that "razor's edge" that cjets mentions. My sister and my mom are heading out to the Vancouver 2010 Olympics (staying with friends, so not too expensive) and they are gunning for tickets to ANY/ALL of the short track speed skating events.

posted by grum@work at 07:43 PM on June 25

It's got razor's edge, and it's contested on razor edges. For me, what cjets said is exactly it - the Olympics is all about rising to the occasion - it's Whitney Houston's one moment in time (I think I just hit a new low). The Olympic champion skiier verses the winner of the World Cup is like the winner of golf's Open Championship verses the winner of the money list, or the winner of Wimbledon verses the world number one (not that there has been much distinction between those two things in recent times in the men's tournament). The Olympic Games are what I believe you trans-Atlantic types refer to as "balls out" stuff. The potential for such heights of triumph is delivered by the concomitant potential for such depths of despair.

posted by JJ at 04:13 AM on June 26

Oh, it's great television, no denying it -- and it's foremost, therefore, in the minds of the television audience who watch most of these sports once every four years. And there's plenty of money in it, too. I'm just saying that if you asked one of the athletes which they thought was the greatest achievement in their sport, there are many sports for which the Olympic gold would not be it -- and at the same time it's not like baseball or tennis, where many/most of the world's best would simply not bother with the Olympics.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:17 AM on June 26

Oh, it's great television, no denying it Actually, I'll deny it in a heartbeat. The Olympics are consistently overblown, over-hyped, overly theatrical, and poorly produced. At least here in America they are. I don't know what my fellow SpoFites' experience is overseas, as I don't know who carries the games in different countries, but here, it's absolute crap. Yes, the competition is thrilling, but much like watching a baseball game on Fox, the presentation and commentary is so bad, it hurts one's enjoyment of the games themselves.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 09:22 AM on June 26

On the TV front, the BBC get it just about right I think - it's in-depth enough to give you a real feel for sports you might not know a great deal about without being a geek fest. They also get Michael Johnson (what are the American networks doing letting a British TV station hire him?) who for my money is just the best there is - calm, reasoned observations, backed by the weight of his achievements and that really cut through the hype. Here's a list of all the Olympic sports. For which ones do we reckon the gold medal isn't the one most athletes in the sport would want most in their collection? I've gone with Gold if they would, and no if they wouldn't (in my anything-but-humble opinion): Aquatics - Gold Archery - Gold Athletics - Gold Badminton - Gold Baseball - No (and no longer in) Basketball - No (I know this is a big one for non-American players, but I still think the pinnacle is the NBA and the WNBA, no matter where you're from) Boxing - No (although maybe it is for the amateur) Canoe / kayak - I suspect Gold, but ask the author of the FPP! Cycling - Gold for all but the road events (which I suspect would be second tier to a TDF win) Equestrian - Gold Fencing - Gold (from the horse's mouth) Football - No (the World Cup is definitely bigger for men - is the Olympic tournament more important for the female athletes than their World Cup Goddam?) Gymnastics - Gold Handball - Gold Hockey (field) - Gold ("Where were the Germans?And frankly, who cares?") Judo - Gold (or black) Modern Pentathlon - Gold Rowing - Gold Sailing - Gold Shooting - Gold Softball - I don't have a clue - I know an Aussie who nearly made their Olympic team and said the Olympics was the biggest thing for them, but is there a World Series equivalent in the US that surpasses the Olympic tournament? Table Tennis - Gold Taekwondo - Gold Tennis - No (second tier to all the majors for men and women) Triathlon - Gold Volleyball - Gold Weightlifting - Gold Wrestling - Gold Biathlon - Gold Bobsleigh - Gold Curling - Gold Ice Hockey - Gold (tough call) Luge - Gold Skating - Gold Skiing - Gold (waiting for a counter argument there)

posted by JJ at 10:04 AM on June 26

Actually, I'll deny it in a heartbeat. The Olympics are consistently overblown, over-hyped, overly theatrical, and poorly produced. At least here in America they are. Can we settle for, "It's television that millions of people eat up with a spoon"?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:20 AM on June 26

Football - No (the World Cup is definitely bigger for men - is the Olympic tournament more important for the female athletes than their World Cup Goddam?) i'm going to say they are close to being equal in importance, with an edge to the World Cup, only because the tournament is a bit older and more teams play. but to go back to a point that dame also made, it about exposure as well. these are really the only 2 tournaments that get any kind of airtime for women's soccer. so, yeah, i would think they place just as much importance on the olympics as they do the world cup because they can't afford not to. Softball - I don't have a clue ...but is there a World Series equivalent in the US that surpasses the Olympic tournament? there's an annual world cup type event. i'd say olympic gold would be the "pinnacle" because, again, it's the only time their sport gets that much exposure.

posted by goddam at 11:02 AM on June 26

Good list, JJ. My only quibble: Basketball - No (I know this is a big one for non-American players, but I still think the pinnacle is the NBA and the WNBA, no matter where you're from) This is a tough call. No doubt almost all players in the U.S. value high acheivement in the NBA over an Olympic gold medal. But this really reflects valuing financial remuneration higher than actual achievement, as well as continued American ignorance of the high level of basketball talent in the rest of the world. And I think it is outweighed by the thousands of players in other countries - including countries with professional leagues of their own - for whom Olympic gold is indeed the pinnacle. Also, since U.S. teams are no longer totally dominant in Olympic and World Championship competitions, its much harder to defend the idea that the NBA champion is the de facto best team in the world.

posted by googly at 11:21 AM on June 26

Skiing - Gold (waiting for a counter argument there) I'd say it depends on where you're from, and what you care about the most. In Europe, ski racing is much bigger than it is here, and a top ski racer can get very lucrative endorsements for products of all kinds. Someone who wins the World Cup, or does well on the World Cup circuit, is going to be a hotter prospect than someone who wins Olympic gold, although the gold's not trivial. OTOH, if you're from the US or Canada, Olympic gold is your best shot at big money and some name recognition. So if the money and the fame is what matters, and you're from the US, Olympic gold would be the pinnacle -- otherwise, probably not. This is not to say, btw, that Olympic gold doesn't matter to Europeans -- it does, a lot. When Michaela Dorfmeister finally won gold in Torino, at the end of a hugely successful career in which she'd won just about everything else, she was ecstatic...but if she'd had to pick between that and the World Cup, I think it would have been no contest.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:39 AM on June 26

Ice Hockey - Gold (tough call) It wasn't "Gold" when the USSR was sending "pros" but the rest of the world was sending "amateurs". The moment the NHL took a break from their schedule and the truly "best of the best" showed up, it became "Gold". If the NHL reverses course and doesn't take a break, it'll still probably be "Gold", only because the truly best players (from all nations) will be in the NHL at the time, so every nation will be back on equal footing.

posted by grum@work at 12:18 PM on June 26

Softball - I don't have a clue - I know an Aussie who nearly made their Olympic team and said the Olympics was the biggest thing for them, but is there a World Series equivalent in the US that surpasses the Olympic tournament? This one is tricky. There isn't really a World Series type of championship in the United States that would take precedent over the Olympics. However, the level of talent between the United States and the rest of the world in softball is quite large. If I'm correct there was a collumn/FPP/discussion about this before.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 02:18 PM on June 26

Why is Equestrian stuff an olympic sport? I believe the riders are interchangeable and it depends solely on how the horse was trained. And what is that dressage all about. A horse doesn't walk, run or trot like that.

posted by mank at 05:39 PM on June 26

Why is Equestrian stuff an olympic sport? Tradition. If you take a look at the info on olympic.org, equestrian sports were first included in 1900 -- in other words, since the second modern Olympics. It derived from the military cavalry tradition, which used to be a very big deal, and obviously is much diminished now. I believe the riders are interchangeable and it depends solely on how the horse was trained. Never been on a horse, have you?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:24 PM on June 26

Never been on a horse, have you Or thrown off one, either. Dressage is boring, and so is showjumping. But I was at the cross country part of the 3DE in Sydney 2000, and it was fantastic, especially up close.

posted by owlhouse at 03:58 AM on June 27

Folks, football is never going to be dropped from the Olympics if the IOC has any say in the matter. It's got nothing to do with any of the reasons you guys are arguing over; there is only one motivating factor: money. Football is always the biggest drawing event at the Olympics and always will be, unless they play the games in tiny stadia. IOC ain't going to kill that golden egg laying goose. FIFA has talked about withdrawing from the Olympic games, though, although that's mostly a bargaining ploy. They probably want a bigger slice of the Olympic money pie. Also, Olympic football is an under-23 event, so it is not comparable to the World Cup. The IOC would like FIFA to make the Olympic gold medal equal to the World Cup, but FIFA will not do this. Once amateurism went away from the Olympics, FIFA made the football gold medal its unofficial U-23 World Cup. FIFA isn't going to allow its World Cup to be devalued nor will it allow the Olympic gold medal to become the equal of the World Cup.

posted by dave2007 at 10:43 PM on June 28

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.