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What sports should be in the Olympics?

Posted by ZA on June 20, 2009

There are currently 7 sports vying to be included in the Summer Olympics.  These sports are competing for two available spots that would begin to compete at the 2016 Olympic Games.  The sports under consideration to be added are: baseball, golf, karate, rollersports, rugby, softball & squash.  In order to be voted into the Summer Olympics, these sports will have to receive at least two-thirds majority vote of IOC (International Olympic Committee) members at a vote this Fall.

The IOC wants to add new sports that will appeal to young people and give a shot in the arm to their current lineup. I think the IOC needs to add sports that have potential to attract new sponsors to the games.  The Olympics was already being forced to compete for sponsorship dollars against a growing number of global sporting events; then their job got tougher to land new sponsors (or keep existing sponsors) when the World economy tanked.  So the IOC membership has to consider the sports they are looking to vote in as potential conduits to new sponsorship opportunities.

If they are taking that approach to this voting process than I think it immediately eliminates karate, rollersports and squash.  Those three sports are not big enough in the United States, where the largest pool of potential corporate sponsors are located, to attract much interest.  They also are not huge sports internationally, so they are out of consideration. You could probably also include softball, but I think that might buck the trend.

That leaves baseball, golf, rugby & softball.  As I said I think softball could be a sentimental favorite (like karate), but not a huge money maker by way of landing more sponsorship dollars.  Baseball, golf & rugby all have huge appeal around the globe.  Golf is probably most universally recognized, so I think golf will be the #1 most likely sport to get voted into the Summer Olympics.  The appeal of the sport globally, combined with the huge opportunity to bring marquee names to the Olympics like; Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Sergio Garcia, will be too much to pass up.  So golf gets in to the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Deciding between baseball and rugby is probably a coin flip.  Rugby is not hugely popular in the United States, but is intensely popular throughout parts of Europe, the South Pacific (Australia, New Zealand particularly), Africa and even South America.  There would be plenty of new sponsor opportunities for the Olympics by adding rugby.  Baseball is “America’s national pastime” and opens up huge opportunities with the sponsors of Major League Baseball.  It is also a sport that has huge popularity in Central America and the Far East, where Japan & Korea would open doors to more large corporations that could become sponsors.  Baseball (and softball) also were sports that were recently included in the Olympics before being removed, so they might be more familiar to IOC members.

So my final assessment is that golf will get voted into the Olympic Games.  I think that either baseball or rugby will probably get the second spot available in Olympics for new sports.  If you made me choose then I’d probably pick baseball over rugby, but I’m probably a little biased as an American that is not a rugby fan.  Regardless it should be interesting to see how the IOC votes on this in the Fall; if they select any of the sports besides those three (or softball) I will be very surprised.

The sports currently included in the Summer Games:
Archery
Athletics (aka: Track & Field)
Badminton
Basketball
Boxing
Canoeing
Cycling
Diving
Equestrian
Fencing
Field Hockey
Gymnastics
Handball
Judo
Modern Pentathlon
Rowing
Sailing
Shooting
Soccer (aka: Football)
Swimming
Synchronized Swimming
Table Tennis
Taekwondo
Tennis
Triathlon
Volleyball
Water Polo
Weightlifting
Wrestling

If I were asked to modernize the Olympic games and had to select the best sports to include, here are the sports that I would include in the Olympics:

Future Summer Olympic sports:
Archery
Athletics (aka: Track & Field)
Auto Racing – One of most popular sports in World would replace Equestrian
Badminton
Baseball – Would bring huge sponsor opportunities in USA & Japan.
Basketball
Boxing
Canoeing – Removed.
Cycling
Diving
Equestrian – Removed.
Fencing – Removed.
Field Hockey – Removed.
Golf – Adding one of most popular sports in the World.
Gymnastics
Handball – Removed.
Judo – Would be combined into Mixed Martial Arts category.
Lacrosse – A sport growing in popularity that would offset loss of Field Hockey.
Modern Pentathlon
MMA – Combines all fighting disciplines under one roof.  Sports are still separated out.
Rowing
Rugby – Popular sport in many parts of World.
Sailing – Removed.
Shooting – Removed.
Soccer (aka: Football)
Softball – Bringing this one back.
Swimming
Synchronized Swimming – Removed.
Table Tennis
Taekwondo – Would be combined into Mixed Martial Arts category.
Tennis
Triathlon
Volleyball
Water Polo
Weightlifting
Wrestling – Would be combined into Mixed Martial Arts category.

What sports do you think should be part of the Summer Olympics? Which would you add & which would you subtract?

Seven sports pitch for Olympic inclusion

The seven sports vying for addition to the 2016 Olympic programme presented their case to the International Olympic Committee yesterday.

A maximum of two out of baseball, golf, karate, rollersports, rugby, softball and squash will be shortlisted by the IOC this August, with a final vote on their inclusion taking place two months later. The IOC is considering the new entrants as part of a broader goal of attracting younger audiences and refreshing the Olympic programme.

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4 Responses to “What sports should be in the Olympics?”

  1. [...] shouldn’t come as any surprise, except maybe those rooting for baseball to be picked.  I predicted golf and rugby would be the finalists in an article I wrote a short time ago, although I did have a difficult time selecting between [...]

  2. Meghan said

    Why do you think that the equestrian sport should be removed from the Olympics? It has been part of it sine the 1900′s . Equestrian sports and sailing, which you want to remove, are both coed unlike other sports. Equestrian sports are a tradition! And it is extremely entertaining to watch.

    • ZA said

      Meghan-
      I agree that equestrian & sailing are part of the history of the games. I also love that they are both coed sports.
      But participation in both sports is limited to a small subset of people in only a handful of countries. I think there are other sports today that could replace them and would have larger fan appeal & more universal participation. Yes, removing them is taking some history from the games, but sometimes change is necessary to improve.

      ZA

  3. Trac said

    I think many people are to worried about tiger woods…. and want to remove Equestrain sports…this angers me in the fact the nationally and internationaly we are a HUGE sport! form children all the way up to adults….go on utube and request anything horse related you will find tons of videos….. just because someone in particular doesn’t care for a sport doesn’t mean the rest of us should suffer…..

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