October 18, 2005

Wishful Wushu

I don't know what it is about Jacques Rogge, but it seems that he can't open his mouth without being misinterpreted in the press.

In April, Rogge discussed the impending vote on the makeup of the 2012 Olympic programme:

  • Rogge said: "There should be no anxiety. The process will be a totally fair process. Reading the [IOC programme commission] report, I have only one conclusion. We have very strong federations, and strong federations should have nothing to fear."
  • The press reported: Olympics chief reassures federations that sports won't go

In September, Rogge commented on the recent elimination of softball from the 2012 Olympic programme:

  • Rogge said: "Our charter is very clear that the [executive board] cannot take an initiative to say 'we want a new vote' because that would open up the door to all kinds of re-votes." But he said there were precedents for the full IOC to reconsider a decision.
  • The press reported: A second chance? IOC may take another look at softball for 2012 Games

And last week, Rogge paid a visit to China's National Games:

  • Rogge said: "There will be a wushu competition during the Olympic Games. It's not going to be one of the official 28 sports but we will organize with BOCOG a wushu competition."
  • The press reported: Wushu to Be Part of Beijing Olympics

The Chinese have been trying to get Wushu — better-known as kung fu in North America — on the Olympic programme ever since they won the right to host the 2008 Olympics. As I understand it, the proposed Olympic version is not a combat sport but a judged demonstration of skill, somewhat like gymnastics — just what the summer Olympics needs, right? Anyway, despite the recent excitement I can assure everybody that wushu is not going to be part of the 2008 summer Olympics. It is not one of the 28 sports on the programme, and it cannot be a demonstration sport, since the IOC decided in 1989 to place a moratorium on demonstration sports at the summer and winter Olympics (they were discontinued starting in 1996).

In an effort to make things perfectly clear, Rogge made a statement clarifying what he said, for those who missed it the first time:

"We are not introducing wushu into the Olympic program. It will not be an exhibition. Not at all" … He said wushu will be neither an exhibition event nor an Olympic sport. Asked if there is any possibility of wushu’s becoming a medal event in future Olympic Games beyond 2012, Rogge said: “No one can predict the future.”

Tomorrow's headline: Rogge Promises Wushu in Future Olympic Games.

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