Swimming and triple jump under fire

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Published: Monday 8th December 2014 by The News Editor

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Historic Olympic events such as the triple jump and swimming races are in the line of fire after new rules were agreed by the IOC to allow more sports into future Games.

The IOC will give greater flexibility to the Olympic programme to allow host cities to stage new sports – there have been calls to bring in sports such as surfing that have greater appeal to young people.

However, the number of athletes will be capped at 10,500 meaning that there will be pressure on the bigger sports such as track and field and swimming to agree to a cut in the number of events.

Canada’s IOC member Dick Pound identified triple jump, synchronised swimming and race-walking as events he believes should be dropped from the Games.

Sebastian Coe, head of the British Olympic Association and IAAF vice-president, hit back saying: “Triple jump is a sacrosanct sport in track and field.”

Lord Coe also defended race-walking but conceded there will now be pressure on athletics, saying: “There are roughly 10,500 athletes in an Olympics and we take roughly 2,200 – a fifth of all competitors and 47 different disciplines. Does that mean track and field needs to be vigilant about protecting its events then the answer is almost certainly ‘yes it will’.”

Other IOC members believe the situation with swimming, which allowed Michael Phelps to win eight gold medals in one Games in 2008, needs to be reformed.

Julio Maglione, president of swimming’s international federation FINA, said: “I don’t know what will happen, this is the truth, it’s a difficult moment.

“I suppose that it’s a problem we discuss in the future, we don’t know what’s going to happen with us, athletics, gymnastics.”

In other rule changes – part of the greatest shake-up in the Olympics since 1999 – it was agreed that Games will be able to be staged in more than one city or even in different countries in the future.

The 127th IOC session meeting in Monaco on Monday passed recommendations on bidding for Games despite concerns being expressed that the changes could damage the atmosphere of the Olympics.

The new rules will also make it less costly for cities to bid to host Games with the IOC picking up the bill for some of the costs.

The rules were passed unanimously but there were some concerns expressed by IOC members about holding Olympics in different cities or countries.

Denis Oswald, the Swiss IOC member who oversaw the preparations for London 2012, said: “I am worried that the unique character of the Games could be diminished by the recommendation to allow some events to be dispersed over several locations within the same country, or even in a neighbouring country.

“The Olympic village won’t look the same and for isolated athletes it will resemble more a kind of world championship without living a true Olympic experience.”

IOC vice-president John Coates, who presented the changes to bidding rules, said holding events outside the host city or country would only be considered in “exceptional circumstances”.

Meanwhile, suggestions that some summer events could be held during the winter Olympics have been dismissed by the IOC.

Brian Cookson, the president of cycling’s governing body UCI, was among those calling for a radical overhaul of the Olympics, with indoor sports such as track cycling, judo and badminton possibly moving to the Winter Games.

Published: Monday 8th December 2014 by The News Editor

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