Olympic success for golf and rugby9 October 2009
Golf and Rugby 7’s will be played at the 2016 and 2020 Olympics after receiving strong support from the IOC members in Copenhagen.
The IOC members voted 63 to 27 to accept golf and a resounding 81 to 8 in favour of rugby.
Golf and Rugby 7’s had been recommended by the IOC Executive Board after seven sports had vied for the honour including squash, karate, softball, baseball and roller sports.
Golf and Rugby attempted to re-join the Olympic program at the 2005 IOC Session in Singapore but failed.
Following that disappointment they included female athletes in their pitch…. a winning move.
Golf was previously an Olympic sport in 1904 for men only. In Rio 60 men and 60 women will play a 72-hole stroke tournament.
Golf stars Padraig Harrington, Michelle Wie and Suzann Petterson pitched their sport to the IOC members today. Tiger Woods sent a video message from the Presidents Cup in San Francisco.
Rugby was last played in the 15-man format at the Olympics in 1924 when the USA won the gold medal. Australia won the Olympic Rugby tournament back in 1908.
The Australian women’s team is the reigning Rugby 7’s world champion and would be considered a definite medal chance in Rio.
The Australian captain Cheryl Soon, was up on the stage today along with Agustín Pichot, former captain of the Argentina Rugby Sevens team, Humphrey Kayange, captain of the Kenya Sevens team, Anastassiya Khamova, one of Kazakhstan’s top female players and New Zealand great Jonah Lomu.
For 2016 the International Rugby Board proposed 12 men's teams and 12 women's teams, with 12 athletes on each team.
The IOC member for Rio told the delegates his country had the facilities to stage both sports in 2016.
Canadian Dick Pound argued that the process of recommending only two sports to the IOC members was a matter of “take it or leave it”. Clearly upset with that decision he said “it is a mistake and not fair to the other five sports”.
However when the votes were cast both sports had the overwhelming backing of the IOC members.
Mike Tancred – AOC