October 06, 2005

My Two Favourite Sports

Well to be honest, I'm not that fond of boxing or softball, but they seem to come up quite often. I guess I write about boxing a lot because it's so screwed up, and of course softball is not on the Olympic program for 2012.

And here they are in the news, again. Don Porter, the head of the International Softball Federation, led a delegation to Switzerland this week to meet with IOC president Jacques Rogge. Apparently the purpose of the meeting was to get Rogge's support for softball's reinstatement, although Rogge has already made it clear that the decision rests with the IOC members. Rogge reiterated that point this week:

Under IOC rules, at least one-third of the 115 members would need to submit a motion [at the February meeting in Turin] to consider a new vote. If the motion passed, softball would require a majority in favor to win reinstatement.

That looks fair to me; and given that softball was eliminated in a very close vote, I don't see why it would be difficult to at least get the motion brought forward from the floor.

Boxing, meanwhile, is still thinking about adding a women's discipline. I guess that's good news if you believe in equal punching opportunities for women.

Keep Trying, Guys

How backwards is the AIBA? First, the home page still lists the notice of the cancellation of the women's world championships on September 5, right alongside the results … of the women's world championships on September 26-29. Guys, either get the cancellation notice off of there, or explain how the event was rescued.

And here's a telling quote from their home page promoting this great event: "In women's boxing, we can see some nations winning bouts that would, in men boxing, never win!" How fabulous!

There were a couple of articles on this issue in the past week. The People's Daily Online are reporting that the IOC executive will make a decision on the inclusion of women's boxing in the 2008 Olympics at their meeting on October 26-28.

The article claims that the IOC have received a proposal from the AIBA, with no description of what was proposed. Now Rogge has already made it pretty clear that he's not interested in adding women's events unless some men's weight classes are consolidated, and the AIBA has not been supportive of that idea. So I'm sticking to my story that this is mostly just for show, probably so that the AIBA can shift the blame to the IOC. I suspect that the boxing officials have submitted a proposal that they already know is going to be quickly rejected. In truth, the IOC really can't just let boxing increase their medal or athlete quotas, since they forced other sports (like wrestling and weightlifting) to remove some men's events when they added women's events.

Then, there was this odd little story in the Globe and Mail. The story starts off typically enough, describing how Canada's top female boxers really want to have a chance to compete at the Olympics. But then Robert Crête, executive director of Boxing Canada, drops a new idea:

… Canada would be willing to look at the possibility of women's boxing being part of the Winter Olympics. We're asking the international federation to look at all avenues of getting women's boxing into the Games.

It's an interesting idea, but probably destined to fail because of the giant can of worms it would open. The AIBA will probably embrace the idea, since it would allow them to make a token gesture for women without diminishing the men's program. The IOC, I suspect, is unlikely to entertain this; if they say yes to boxing, they'll have the wrestlers and weightlifters on their backs asking for the same arrangement.

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