It was a big day today as the eight candidate sports for the one spot available in the 2020 Olympic programme made their final presentations to the IOC Executive Board in St Petersburg. No-one really knew how many sports they would decide to keep in the process, but at just after 19.30 local time we got the answer …
1. IOC announcement:
The Executive Board (EB) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) today recommended that baseball/softball, squash and wrestling be proposed to the 125th IOC Session for possible inclusion as an additional sport on the Olympic programme for the 2020 Olympic Games.
The EB selected the three sports by secret ballot from a shortlist of eight that also included karate, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu. The vote followed 30-minute presentations by each International Federation and an extensive evaluation by the Olympic Programme Commission to determine their potential added value to the Games.
The full IOC membership will meet for the 125th Session in Buenos Aires, Argentina from 7 to 10 September and will vote on which of the three sports to add to the programme of the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in addition to the 25 core sports – plus golf and rugby sevens* – proposed by the EB in February.
“The Executive Board received excellent presentations today from eight International Federations,” said IOC President Jacques Rogge. “It was never going to be an easy decision but I feel my colleagues on the Board made a good decision in selecting baseball/softball, squash and wrestling to be put forward in Buenos Aires. I wish the three shortlisted sports the best of luck in the run-up to the vote in September and would like to thank the other sports for their hard work and dedication.”
In an effort to ensure the Olympic Games remain relevant to sports fans of all generations, the Olympic Programme Commission systematically reviews every sport following each edition of the Games. The Commission uses 39 criteria in determining a sport’s suitability for the Olympic Games, including youth appeal, universality, popularity, good governance, respect for athletes and respect for the Olympic values.
How the voting went:
Wrestling was selected in the first round with eight votes and will be the favourite to retain its place on the Olympic programme, despite having originally been recommended by the IOC Executive Board for exclusion after Rio 2016.
Squash was selected in vote three of round three with eight votes, beating wushu and sport climbing, who polled four and two.
Baseball-softball got no votes in the opening round but were selected on the shortlist in vote two of round five, following a run-off with karate, scoring nine votes to its rival’s five.
2. WSF Reaction
The World Squash Federation today welcomed the decision by the IOC Executive Board to shortlist Squash as a potential sport to join the Olympic Programme for the 2020 Olympic Games. The IOC Executive Board, which comprises 15 IOC members including President Jacques Rogge, made its decision after receiving presentations from eight sports.
The Squash presentation team included seven-time women’s world champion and world number one Nicol David, and Ramy Ashour, men’s world champion and world number one. Three films were shown in the Squash presentation, including a newly-commissioned film which captures the broadcast innovations the sport has introduced in the last few years.
World Squash Federation President N Ramachandran, who led Squash’s presentation team, said: “This is a huge milestone in our quest to join the Olympic Programme and I would like to thank the Executive Board for the faith it has placed in Squash. It was fantastic to have the women’s and men’s world number ones on our presentation team, and Nicol and Ramy were passionate about what it would mean to them to have the chance to compete in the Olympic Games. It was also important that our presentation communicated the scale and breadth of innovations that Squash has introduced over the last few years, in particular in key areas such as broadcasting, and I believe we did that.
Malaysia’s Nicol David, seven-time World Champion, said: “This is a great day for Squash as it takes us one step closer to realising our long held ambition to join the Olympic Games. I said to the Executive Board that the one big regret in my career is that I have never had the chance to compete in the Olympic Games, but I would happily trade all my seven world titles for the chance of Olympic Gold. Hopefully that showed what competing in the Games means to me. It was a true honour to play a part in our presentation and I will do everything I can as we head towards Buenos Aires to help our campaign.”
Egypt’s Ramy Ashour, Men’s World Number one, added: “It was great for Nicol and me to be part of the presentation team and to represent the Men’s and Women’s professional Squash Tours. I think this was an important message to the IOC Executive Board as it shows what competing in the Games would mean to us and every single player on the tours. Being part of our presentation has fuelled even more my dream to compete in the Olympic Games, and I really do pray that this journey leads me to the Olympic Games in 2020, where I can make my country proud and win Gold for Egypt.”
President Ramachandran concluded: “Squash would grow all over the world with the Olympic Movement. We are a growing, global sport played in 185 countries by millions across the world. We offer the genuine prospect of new nations on the medal podium. We would be easy and low cost to integrate into the Olympic Games with just 64 athletes, two competition courts that can be built in days and we have a great track record of being hosted in iconic locations.
“I think all these elements were important considerations for the IOC Executive Board. It is critical now that we build further momentum and support ahead of the IOC member vote in Buenos Aires on September 8, and this is what the global Squash family is completely focussed on.”
3. The new Video
Squash is proposing a knock-out format men’s and women’s singles championships for inclusion in the Olympic Games. It would comprise 32 male and 32 female players.
Squash, wrestling and baseball/softball were shortlisted by the IOC Executive Board. A final decision on which sport will join the 2020 Olympic Games will be taken by the IOC membership at its Session in Buenos Aires on September 8 2013.
4. In the Papers
2020 Olympics: wrestling, squash and baseball/softball make shortlist
The Guardian: Wrestling, squash and baseball/softball have all been shortlisted for inclusion at the 2020 Olympics following a vote by the International Olympic Committee’s executive board in Russia. The final decision on which event will be part of the 2020 Games
Wrestling, baseball-softball and squash make list
Idaho Press-Tribune: The IOC executive board will submit wrestling, squash and baseball-softball to the full IOC assembly for a final decision on Sept. 8 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. “It’s a good mix of team sports and individual,” IOC vice president Thomas Bach said.
Wrestling, Baseball-Softball, Squash Make IOC List
ABC News: Three months after being dropped from the 2020 Olympics, wrestling won a reprieve Wednesday and made the IOC short list for inclusion in the games. Also making the cut were squash and a combined baseball-softball bid. Eight sports were vying for a …
Wrestling, Squash, Baseball and Softball Shortlisted for 2020 Olympics
Bleacher Report: It was never going to be an easy decision but I feel my colleagues on the Board made a good decision in selecting baseball/softball, squash and wrestling to be put forward in Buenos Aires. I wish the three shortlisted sports the best of luck in the run …
Wrestling makes 2020 short list
ESPN: ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — Three months after being dropped from the 2020 Olympics, wrestling won a reprieve Wednesday and made the IOC shortlist for inclusion in the games. Also making the cut were squash and a combined baseball-softball bid.
Wrestling, baseball-softball and squash make IOC shortlist for 2020 Olympic …
Winnipeg Free Press: Also making the cut were squash and a combined baseball-softball bid. Eight sports were vying for a single opening on the lineup. Eliminated from contention were five sports — karate, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and the Chinese martial …