McQuaid warns against complacency
The 125th Session of the International Olympic Committee in Buenos Aires voted for cycling to be retained as a 'core sport' of the Games over the weekend.
UCI President and IOC member Pat McQuaid welcomed the decision in a statement.
"Each and every national cycling federation around the world depends on cycling's position as a 'core sport' in the Olympic and Paralympic Games in order to receive funding from their respective governments," he said. "Preserving cycling's position as a core Olympic sport is therefore critical to the development of our sport worldwide."
Cycling has been a part of every modern summer Olympic Games since 1896, the first Olympiad, in Athens, Greece. In 2005, there was a shift at the behest of the UCI in the track cycling program for the 2008 Games in Beijing, whereby the men's kilometer time trial and women's 500m time trial were dropped in order to make way for BMX. For the 2012 Games in London, the men's individual pursuit, points race and the madison were removed, while on the women's program the individual pursuit and points race were dropped. The changes allowed for both men and women to compete in the sprint, team pursuit, team sprint, keirin and the introduction of the omnium. Cycling has also come under threat as an Olympic sport due to numerous doping positives.
Earlier this year, wrestling, which has been a part of the Games since ancient times was discarded as a core sport by the IOC Executive, replaced by rugby 7's and golf. However, overwhelming support from IOC members saw wrestling re-instated over the weekend ahead of softball / baseball and squash.
"When a sport like wrestling, which has been at the heart of the Olympic programme since 708 BC (with one exception in Paris in 1900), faces being dropped from the Olympic programme, it shows that no sport can ever afford to be complacent," explained McQuaid.
"One of my proudest achievements as an IOC member has been securing the introduction of BMX as a new discipline in the Olympic programme. It made its Olympic debut at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 and was also a huge success in London last year – as indeed were all of the other disciplines."
With a UCI presidential election set to be held later this month in Florence, coinciding with the Road World Championships, McQuaid said that it was imperative for the successful candidate – he or Brian Cookson – to remain vigilant in regards to cycling's place at the Games while maintaining its relevance and allowing its program to evolve.
"I believe a key priority for the IOC and its new President will be the introduction of new events and disciplines for future Olympic Games that appeal to the modern audience particularly youth," he explained. "Introducing new youth-friendly disciplines is vital to attracting new young fans – and new Olympic athletes. The introduction of BMX has given young cyclists the world over an opportunity to realise the dream of competing in the Olympic Games."
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