August 13, 2009

Golf, rugby likely in 2016 Olympic Games

Golf and rugby will likely be added to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee executive board said in Berlin Thursday.

The secret-ballot committee vote will be finalized when the entire IOC membership meets in Copenhagen, Denmark, in October, the governing body said.

The 2016 Games will feature 28 sports if golf and rugby sevens are included. Rugby sevens is a variant of rugby union in which teams are made up of seven players, instead of the usual 15, with shorter matches.

Five other sports -- baseball, karate, roller sports, softball and squash -- had also sought to enter the Olympic program, but the executive board decided golf and rugby sevens would add the most value, said IOC President Jacques Rogge, who did not take part in the vote.

Rogge once played on the Belgian national rugby union team.

Key factors in determining the selected sports' suitability for the Olympic program included youth appeal, universality, popularity, good governance, respect for athletes and respect for the Olympic values, the IOC said.

When it meets in Copenhagen, the committee will also announce the 2016 Games' host city. Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo are the finalists.

Other applicants Baku, Azerbaijan; Doha, Qatar; and Prague, Czech Republic were eliminated.