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What does cycling gain to benefit from championing the fast tracking of skateboarding into the Olympics, probably by 2012?
IOC kudos for the UCI bigwigs, that’s what.
The mass media is reporting that the International Olympic Committee said Friday it has held discussions with the UCI, cycling’s world governing body, about introducing skateboarding as a discipline for the London programme.
BMXing was introduced for Beijing but out had to go classic disciplines like the kilo. The kilo had been in the modern Olympics since they were re-started in 1896.
At the time of the kilo cull, 2005, I ran an online petition calling for the UCI to come clean and admit it had rigged the voting from the national governing bodies of cycling. 10,679 folks signed this petition, including many top track stars, presidents of national cycle federations, Phil Liggett, and many cycle magazine editors from around the world.
Along with Julie Dominguez, a Scottish track rider, I presented the petition to the then UCI second-in-command, Pat McQuaid (he’s now the boss). We’d flown in especially for the presentation and McQuaid talked about helping other “wheeled sports” gain entry to the Olympic programme. He meant skateboarding. I thought he was half-kidding
It seemed like the UCI muscling in on a sport it didn’t understand or possibly care for, simply to capture the “yoof” vote. But now it turns out to be too true.
“The IOC wants to make the [Olympic] programme relevant for young people,” IOC spokeswoman Emmanuelle Moreau said today.
The IOC does not recognize an international skateboarding federation, so the sport would first need to be adopted as a discipline by the UCI.
The proposed venue for skateboarding in London is the velodrome in the Olympic Park.
UCI sports director Olivier Quejuiner told the London Evening Standard:
“We are doing our best to introduce skateboarding for 2012 We have a clear strategy … The venue could be wonderful. All we need now is the green light from the IOC.”
OK, lovely for skateboarding, but shouldn’t the blazers of the ‘World Cycling Federation’ concentrate on their core sport? Ditching the kilo was criminal.
But maybe it’s the IOC at fault? At the petition handing-over in 2005, here’s what McQuaid said:
“Lots of wheeled sports want into the Olympics, like freestyle BMX and roller-blading. We’re happy to represent these sports, it will make the UCI stronger, but what we can’t have is the situation where we’re asked to introduce new sports but have to delete existing cycle events.”