IOC Simplifies Voting System For Olympic Sports

A new system was approved unanimously by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Friday to determine which sports will be part of the Olympic program. Under the new simplified system the IOC will approve a bloc of 25-26 core sports and add two or three more to stay within the maximum of 28. A simple majority will be needed for adding or removing sports.

Previously it took a two-thirds majority for a sport to make it on to the program. The IOC assembly will vote on a list proposed by its 15-member executive board.

IOC president Jacques Rogge said the new system was “much clearer and easier to understand” and would lead to a “consistent, coherent and well-balanced program” combining a mix of individual sports, team sports and sports popular in certain regions.

The new process will debut at the 2009 IOC session in Copenhagen Denmark with the same 26 sports on the London 2012 program put forward for the 2016 Summer Games. The executive board will also propose inclusion of one or two other sports, with softball and baseball among those lobbying to get on the 2016 list, reports the Associated Press.

According to the Associated Press in 2013 the IOC will vote on a bloc of 25 sports for the 2020 Summer Games, meaning one sport will be dropped from the permanent list after 2016 and three new sports could be added.

Rogge said core sports could only be removed for “exceptional reasons” including mismanagement, corruption, and refusal to comply with anti-doping rules or dramatic loss of popularity. He said those sports outside the core group would have a “different status”. They would be considered provisional and would be easier to drop. The sports program must be fixed seven years in advance of the Games.

Rogge added the IOC would maintain its cap of 10,500 athletes for Summer Games but allow “flexibility” in the number of events, disciplines and teams.

The IOC has approved the current seven sports on the Winter Olympic Games program. They are skiing, biathlon, bobsled, luge, curling, ice hockey and skating for the Sochi 2014 Games. Individual disciplines, including women’s ski jumping, could still be added.