Friday, December 11, 2009

More eyebrow-raising IOC decisions

It's so lovely to find someone who agrees with you--especially on a cold, windy Friday morning as you feel a cold (but hopefully not the flu) coming on.
The IOC has been making some changes to the summer games program, allegedly in the name of gender equity, that has a few puzzled.
LA Times writer and blogger Philip Hersh is one of those and I agree with him--for the most part. The addition of mixed doubles to the roster seems a little silly. While I enjoy mixed doubles and seek it out when I am lucky enough to get to a tournament that actually has it (mostly the Grand Slams), it's another thing to include it in the Olympics where tennis should not be in the first place. Track cycling, with a much smaller international presence, has seen its events reduced--well the men's events anyway. The IOC, upon recommendations from the International Cycling Union (so it's difficult to know where exactly to lay blame), has dropped several events for men and added more for women. Seems good in the aggregate but apparently (and I know this much about track cycling so I am going with what I have read) the events dropped, especially the men's individual pursuit, are some of the best in the sport. Like I said, I know very little about track cycling so I cannot make a convincing argument about which events should stay or go. I do appreciate that an attempt at equity was made, however, but regret that chances for furthering the appeal of the sport have been compromised in the process.
You know who did make a convincing argument, though? Tiger Woods on why golf should be allowed in the Olympics. Hehe. We all know how I felt about golf in the Olympics and banking on Tiger being part of the games in 2016; and how the IOC was just kind of drooling all over themselves when he was part of the pitch. And this is why I have been singing the schadenfreude song for a few days now.
Hersh makes points about which sports should be in the games that I have made before. He believes, though, that basketball (because it helped grow the game internationally) and ice hockey (because it's still important to some countries) deserve their place even though they do not meet the criteria of the Olympics being the ultimate (or near ultimate) prize/honor within the sport. I think both sports should be in there--not necessarily for the reasons he provides. But I think they should be played by non-professionals. And I realize we're going to need to revisit the notion of what makes one a professional in order to enact any such change.
Anyway, check out Hersh's post on these latest decisions and the IOC's wacky decision-making processes. It's a good read.

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