A decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) not to add any new disciplines to the program for Rio 2016 has left several sports disappointed, including basketball who had been lobbying hard for 3×3 to be included.
The IOC Executive Board has taken the controversial decision not to include any more events because of fears it would lead to extra financial pressure on the Brazilian organizers.
Other sports who had applied to add new disciplines to Rio 2016 included cycling, who had wanted to include a points race and BMX freestyle and mountain bike eliminator events for both men and women; triathlon, who had hoped to have a mixed relay included; and judo, who were applying to put on a team event involving men and women.
An Olympic Program Commission meeting scheduled to be held in Lausanne last Saturday (July 6) was cancelled following the IOC Executive Board decision.
Under the rules of the Olympic Charter, the IOC Executive Board are able to add new disciplines without needing the approval of the full membership because the sports are already on the program.
The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) were among those upset by the decision, having been confident that 3×3, which made its international debut at the 2010 Summer Youth Olympic Games in Singapore to worldwide acclaim, would be included.
They, along with several other sports, disputed the IOC Executive Board judgement that “any request from International Federations (IFs) that would result in a higher number of athletes or increased number of medals, thereby adding to the cost and complexity of the Games, would not be considered”, claiming it was unfair.
“We are very disappointed to learn that, as a consequence, 3×3 would not be considered at this stage, based on reasons unrelated to the merits of the discipline,” a FIBA spokesman told insidethegames. “We strongly believe that 3×3 is an exciting and spectacular discipline which offers a unique cocktail of sports and urban culture and would perfectly fit within the Olympic Games and responds to the IOC’s clear wish to rejuvenate and modernize the summer program. We are very thankful to Rio 2016 for their continued support in our efforts for the inclusion of 3×3.”
All the sports are expected to try again to get the new disciplines added to the program for the 2020 Olympics, which will be held in Istanbul, Madrid or Tokyo.
“FIBA will be ready again for the next opportunity to bid for 3×3 as an Olympic discipline as soon as this is possible,” the FIBA spokesman told insidethegames. “FIBA also notes with regret that, as a consequence of the above-mentioned decision, also its third request for 16 teams in the men’s tournament at the Olympic Games will not be considered.”
A spokesman for the IOC told insidethegames: “The Executive Board reiterated that any request from IFs that would result in a higher number of athletes or increased number of medals, adding to the cost and complexity of the Games, would not be considered.
“There were a number of factors that led to the decision; a desire not to add to the complexity of the Games but also that it would be prudent to allow the next IOC President, to be elected on September 10, to be a part of the discussions as this is an important issue for the Olympic Games moving forward.”
This is the latest controversy to hit the Olympic sports program.
The IOC Executive Board recommended in February that wrestling should be dropped from the list of core sports after Rio 2016.
But, following a backlash around the world, it is widely expected to be voted back on the program, ahead of rivals baseball-softball and squash, when the IOC Session meets to decide in Buenos Aires on September 8.
Inside the Games is an online blog of the London Organizing Committee that staged the 2012 London Games. The blog continues to cover issues that are important to the Olympic Movement. This article is reprinted here with permission of the blog editors.