Rogge has sympathy for Sevens bid
March 31, 2009
Head of Rugby World Cup Kit McConnell and Waisele Serevi push Sevens' case to members of the IOC in Queenstown, New Zealand © Getty Images
International Olympic Committee president and rugby lover Jacques Rogge can promise no special favours to rugby sevens when it comes to deciding on whether it makes the 2016 Olympics programme.
Rogge is visiting New Zealand to attend the Oceania National Olympic Committee general assembly this week in Queenstown, where presentations will be made by the International Rugby Board and other sporting bodies hoping to win selection for the 2016 Games. The bid cities for those Games will also give presentations at the southern resort.
The seven sports vying for two places available in 2016 are softball, baseball, golf, rugby sevens, roller sports, squash and karate. The 2012 Games in London will have 26 sports, but this will be expanded to the maximum cap of 28 four years later.
Presentations will be made in Queenstown by the leaders of five of those codes -- softball, baseball, sevens, squash and karate -- with two of the seven to be chosen by the IOC executive board in August and the final decision made by its general assembly in October.
Rogge told media in Wellington today that while his "love for rugby is intact", he was not involved in deciding which sports would be selected. "I have a lot of sympathy but I do not vote."
Rogge, 66, is a former world champion sailor who competed in two Olympics. He also won 10 caps for Belgium in rugby. "I never found the joy in sailing that I did in rugby," he said today.
Criteria involved in selecting the sports would include their universality, their ability to add value to the Olympics in contributing to "viewership at the stadium" and on television, their low cost in infrastructure and ease to organise.
"Ultimately they must fit into the Olympic programme," said Rogge.
Representatives from Chicago in the United States, Spanish capital Madrid, Rio de Janiero in Brazil and Japanese city Tokyo will give presentations to the 17 Oceania bodies at the Queenstown meeting on their bids for the 2016 Games, while the chairman of the London 2012 organising committee, 1980 and 1984 1500m gold medallist Sebastian Coe, now Lord Coe, will speak to delegates.
Rogge will give an opening address and the keynote speech and meet with the 17 national committees over two days.