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Did Roller Skating Miss the Olympic Bus Again?
This article about the possibility of inline skating
and other roller sports making it into the Olympics was
was originally published at About.com on September 4, 2001
when I was the editor of their inline skating Web site.
Olympic Park in Lausanne Switzerland
Kathie Fry of SkateLog.com
The world headquarters of the
International Olympic Committee
is in Lausanne Switzerland, and while I
was in that city for the 2001 Downhill World Championships
and Lausanne Roller Contest I purchased a copy of the official Olympic
Charter that was in force as of September 11, 2000.
I wanted to find out for myself what is required
to have a new sport admitted to the Olympic Games.
I read with particular interest Section 52 of the Charter,
"Admission of Sports, Disciplines, and Events".
This is the section that lists the requirements that must be met
before any sport can be considered for inclusion in
the Olympic Games.
I read this section very carefully, and it appears that these
are the minimum requirements:
Minimum Requirements to Be An Olympic Sport
Does Our Sport Meet Those Requirements?
The Sport Must be Widely Practiced
"Only sports widely practiced by men in at least seventy-five
countries and on four continents, and by women in at
least forty countries and on three continents, may be
included in the programme of the Games of the Olympiad."
For Winter sports, the criteria is 25 countries
on 3 continents.
(Olympic Charter Section 52, Paragraph 1.1.1)
The Sport Must Have International Standing
"To be included in the programme of the Olympic
Games, events must have a recognized international
standing both numerically and geographically, and
have been included at least twice in world or continental
(Olympic Charter Section 52, Paragraph 3.2)
There Must be Drug Testing
"Only sports that apply the Olympic Movement Anti-Doping
Code and in particular perform out-of-competition testing
in accordance with the rules of the
World Anti-Doping Agency will be included in the programme of the Olympic Games."
(Olympic Charter Section 52, Paragraph 1.1.3)
There Must Not Be Mechanical Propulsion
"Sports, disciplines or events in which
performance depends essentially on mechanical
propulsion are not acceptable."
(Olympic Charter Section 52, Paragraph 4.2)
Does roller skating conform to the criteria
established for Olympic sports? I know the
International Roller Sports
Federation (FIRS) and other organizations and individuals have
worked very hard in the last
few years to make sure roller skating does meet all of
There are certainly international competitions
for roller hockey, artistic skating and speedskating, and
all three of those disciplines are included in the Pan
American Games. Roller hockey was even played as
a demonstration sport at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona,
I'm not sure how many roller skating events
have drug testing, but I assume it is done at
all international events sanctioned by official
federations. I know it was done at the 2001
World Downhill Championships in Lausanne Switzerland,
because I recall hearing Dan Burger, one of the two skaters
selected for testing,
lament about being "too dehydrated to pee in a cup".
If there is a problem getting roller skating into the
2008 Olympics, I don't believe it will be caused by
not meeting the minimum criteria. Meeting those requirements
is only part of the equation. The bottom line is that
International Olympic Committee has to agree to accept
roller skating into the program. Because they have to
limit the size of the games, it might mean that another
sport has to be "kicked out" of the games. So getting
into the Olympics is not as simple as meeting a list of
What About The 7 Year Time Limit?
If the Olympic committee wants to accept roller
skating as an Olympic sport
in the 2008 games, is it too late for them to do it?
Look at this paragraph in the Olympic Charter:
Upon first reading this paragraph, it looked
like we were already too late to have our sport
admitted to the Olympic Games. But then I read
it more carefully. Correct me if I am wrong, but
it seems that roller skating is ALREADY considered
an Olympic Sport, so the 7 year time limit does
Section 52, Paragraph 4.2
"Sports are admitted to the programme of the Olympic
Games at least seven years before specific Olympic
Games in respect of which no change shall thereafter be
(Olympic Charter Section 52, Paragraph 1.1.4)
A little background:
Before a sport can be an Olympic event, the Olympic
Committee must accept first the Sport, then the Discipline,
and finally the Event (your sport and discipline may have
been accepted, but if your event has not, your
athletes will not participate in the games).
New disciplines must be added 7 years before specific games, and
new events must be added 4 years before specific games.
There are no provisions in the Charter for waiving
the 7 year time limit for adding a new Sport, but there ARE
provisions for waiving the time limit for adding
new Disciplines and Events. So if Roller Skating is
already an Olympic Sport, then there is
still a possibility of having a roller skating
event in the 2008 Olympic Games.
Will Roller Skating Be Olympic in 2008?
After reading the Olympic Charter, and talking
to the members of the International Federation,
I am still very hopeful about the possibility of getting roller sports
into the 2008 Games.
Some people think that road racing
has a better chance than track racing, artistic skating,
or roller hockey, because road skating does not require any
new facilities, such
as a track or a rink, to be built in Beijing,
the site of the 2008 Olympic Games.
In the end, whether or not our sport is
admitted to the games will depend
on how the members of the Olympic Committee feel about
roller skating as an Olympic sport. We have 3
more years to convince them!
Join the Discussion
Do you have any ideas
for increasing the visibility of our sport and enhancing
its reputation and popularity over the next 3 years?
How do you feel about drug testing at skating events?
Does anybody NOT want roller skating in
the Olympic Games? Connect to this
Roller Sports in the Olympics Discussion
in the SkateLog Forum at AskAboutSkating.com and tell us what you think.
The Executive Committee of the International Roller Sports
Federation at (FIRS) at the Olympic Center in Lausanne Switzerland
Kathie Fry of SkateLog.com
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