2005: Golf excluded from 2012 Olympics

There were plenty of English smiles at the International Olympic Committee’s session July 6-9 in Singapore when London was named site of the 2012 Olympics. But anyone hoping that golf would be included in those Olympics left the session dissatisfied.

Even though baseball and softball were dropped from the Olympics, golf still wasn’t added.

Peter Dawson, secretary of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, expressed surprise at the outcome. The R&A is the ruling body for golf in all countries except the United States and Mexico.

“When I heard two sports had dropped out, I thought golf had a chance,” Dawson said July 11 at the British Open.

“My take is that golf now is just going to have to go it alone,” he added, referring to the need for developing golf associations to secure funding from their governments without the prospect of Olympic golf to motivate those efforts.

U.S. Golf Association executive director David Fay could not be reached for comment.

“Needless to say, these sports (baseball and softball) are very, very disappointed,” IOC president Jacques Rogge said after announcing the result. “However, I have to emphasize the fact that they should not fear this purge. The fact is that they shall not be included in the program of the 2012 Olympic Games, but it does not disqualify them forever as Olympic sports.”

Rogge has said previously that the Olympic program will be limited to 28 sports. If one is to be added, something needs to be dropped.

In 2002, Rogge proposed that baseball, softball and modern pentathlon be removed and golf and rugby be added, but IOC members resisted and no vote was taken. Since then, Rogge has instituted a review of the entire program after each edition of the games.

“The program isn’t something that can be fixed for eternity it has to be evolving,” Rogge said. “We need to be relevant.”

Squash and karate were nominated for inclusion, then overwhelmingly shot down in a final vote. Golf, rugby and roller sports were the others to be considered.

With a two-thirds margin required for final approval, members voted 63-39 against squash and 63-38 against karate.

“Ultimately, the session was of the opinion that none of the five sports would add extra value,” Rogge said. “The IOC chose quality over quantity.”

Rogge said the IOC would consider changing the rules in the future to allow for a simple majority vote to approve new sports. He said the sports may also be allowed to make presentations to the IOC before the vote.

“If there are too many hurdles for them, you have to bring down the hurdles,” Rogge said. “It’s fair that Olympic sports and non-Olympic sports have a level playing field.”

– Staff and wire reports

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