Support from International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge has been received by the Dutch speed skater Ireen Wüst, after International Skating Union (ISU) President Ottavio Cinquanta had triggered off sheer indignation with his reaction to her open letter. He could well see the possibility that the allround speedskating event be included in the program of the Olympic Winter Games, said Dr. Rogge on the fringe of the European Championships in Heerenveen.
“It’s a great discipline, similar to the decathlon at the athletics. The allrounders are the most complete athletes,” the IOC President is quoted as saying by the daily De Telegraaf. Making reference to the continuing discussion about the inclusion of the Allround event, Jacques Rogge said that was definitely not a “mission impossible,” although “We do not want to have too many disciplines at the Games. This applies to the all-rounders, but also for the mass start. The program for Sochi 2014, is naturally fixed, but for the Games of 2018 in Pyeongchang we will see what’s happening.”
Responding to the open letter of the double Olympic champion (3,000 meters in Turin and 1,500 meters in Vancouver) and three-time Allround World Champion Ireen Wüst, ISU President and IOC member Cinquanta, responded in an unusually rude form. After Ireen Wüst in the letter published by De Telegraaf, had energetically called for the Allround event to be included in the Olympic program, Cinquanta instructed her that she must approach the Dutch federation KNSB. “I am President of the ISU. I don’t talk to athletes, I talk to the KNSB,” Cinquanta was quoted as saying in De Telegraaf. World champion Sven Kramer complained that with this arrogant reaction, Cinquanta had snubbed not only the speedskaters, but the entire sport.
Cinquanta has also attracted the indignation of the Dutch football legend Johan Cruijff. In his weekly De Telegraaf column Cruyff writes that up to the date of his statement, he had never heard of Cinquanta, but while reading his blood had been boiling and the worst was to be expected. Perhaps the proposals and thoughts of Ireen Wüst (and Ard Schenk) were not the best, but together good solutions could be found. “But this gentleman Cinquanta refuses to talk with athletes at all. Another example in the sport of the wrong person in the wrong place.” Nowadays, Cruijff added, even the IOC President, the UEFA President and the London Olympic organizer Sebastian Coe underline the importance of having a discussion with athletes, with those involved in the sport to learn what’s up.
The Sport Intern in a blog produced by Karl-Heinz Huba in Lorsch, Germany. Mr. Huba can be reached via email at ISMG@aol.com. This article is reprinted here with the permission of Mr. Huba.