The IOC approved the addition of a new freestyle ski event for the 2010 Winter Olympics on Tuesday and rejected the inclusion of women's ski jumping and several other disciplines.
Skicross, a rough-and-tumble event similar to snowboard cross, was accepted by the International Olympic Committee executive board on the opening day of its two-day meeting in Kuwait. Skicross involves groups of skiers racing each other to the bottom of a course with jumps, rollers, banks and other manmade and natural terrain features. The competition is part of the International Ski Federation's World Cup freestyle circuit, which also includes the Olympic events of aerials and moguls. Snowboard cross debuted at the Winter Games in Turin 10 months ago and drew big crowds and good ratings.
Among the events turned down were women's ski jumping, a team event in Alpine skiing, individual curling and team luge. Ski jumping, and Nordic combined are the only competitions in the Winter Olympics in which women don't participate. While the IOC is eager to have gender equity in all sports, officials said women's jumping hasn't yet been fully established, noting that the first world championships in the event aren't scheduled until 2009. "It's still not ready," IOC vice president Gunilla Lindberg said. "In our analysis, there are not enough athletes and not enough countries. They have to work with the international ski federation and Nordic combined to be ready for 2014." Canada's women ski jumpers sent a letter to Vancouver organizers on November 20, urging them to "embrace this opportunity to remove the final barrier to equal participation by women at the Vancouver Olympics."
The Kuwait meeting was the last chance for new events to secure a spot on the Vancouver sports program. The next opportunity will be for the 2014 Games.
Also Tuesday, the IOC agreed to partially lift a freeze in payments to the International Amateur Boxing Association. The board released $300,000 and said the funds should be used by national boxing federations to buy video systems for improving judging. The IOC froze around $1 million in payments to the federation after the 2004 Athens Games, citing concerns over scoring and the selection of judges.
A breakthrough came last month when longtime AIBF president Anwar Chowdhry of Pakistan was defeated in a re-election bid by Taiwan's Ching-Kuo Wu at the association's congress in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Critics had accused the 84-year-old Chowdhry, who led the federation for 20 years, of corruption and mismanagement.
Tuesday's meeting began with a minute's silence for Swiss IOC member Marc Hodler, who died on October 17 at the age of 87. Hodler was the man, who broke open the Salt Lake City scandal with allegations of bribery in the Olympic host city bidding process. Beijing's preparations for the 2008 Olympics and the soaring construction costs for the 2012 London Games will be reviewed on Wednesday.