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Golf and rugby to be Olympic sports

By Adam Goldstein
Published: September 2009

Golf and rugby are now one step away from becoming Olympic sports. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) selected golf and rugby out of a field including baseball, softball, squash, and roller sports on August 13.

The MLB was not as flexible as the other sports associations, and scheduling issues was one the main reasons baseball was not suggested for induction into the Olympics.

The full IOC will vote in Copenhagen on October 9, and a majority vote will most likely officially induct golf and rugby into the Olympics.

The key characteristics needed to become an Olympic sport include youth appeal, universality, popularity, good governance, respect for athletes and respect for the Olympic values. Golf and rugby are both international sports with many of the top players and teams not being from the United States and Europe.
Baseball was not picked for the olympics primarily because it of scheduling issues.

The format of the golf championship will be that of a regular golf tournament. That is, 72 holes of stroke play, as opposed to team play, which is used to determine the Ryder Cup champions. Golfers believe that this method will be a more fair way of determining an Olympic Champion.

There will be a men’s and women’s championship each consisting of 60 of the world’s top players.

The presence of golf in the Olympics should boost development of golf and golf courses worldwide because many governments only fund Olympic sports.

Golf was held in the Olympics in 1900 and 1904 Olympics and since then golfers have been working to get it back. Golfing legend Jack Nicklaus played a major part in lobbying for golf.

When asked if he would play, Tiger Woods arguably the best golfer to ever play the game, said, “If I’m not retired by then, yeah. Woods will be 40 by the time of the Olympics in 2016.

Padraig Harrington, three-time major champion, said, “I’d love to be an Olympian. Doesn’t that sound good? Imagine us being Olympic athletes. I think it would be fantastic for golf. As a golfer, I would think we have all the credentials to be Olympians.

Rugby fans around the world are just as thrilled about the soon to be existence of rugby in the games. Rugby was in the Olympics between 1900 and 1924. Since then, rugby officials have been working as hard as golf fanatics have to get rugby back into the Olympic games.

The format would be different from regular rugby events: there would be only seven a side as opposed to the usual 15 a side. The addition of rugby in the games would open up many opportunities for medals in countries that have lacked success in the past.

“The Olympic Games would be the pinnacle of the sport for all our athletes, International Rugby Board president Bernard Lapasset said.

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