GENEVA – Boxing, weightlifting and modern pentathlon set a goal of around 18 months on Thursday to make changes to maintain their status as Olympic sports for the Los Angeles 2028 Games.
The governing bodies of boxing and weightlifting have been described as problem children by the president of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach, who has long expressed concerns about the leadership of these sports and the problems of corruption and doping.
The IOC effectively called on the modern pentathlon to remove horse jumping from the event, eliciting an angry reaction from athletes.
The high-profile incident of a trainer hitting a horse at the Tokyo Olympics undermined the reputation of modern pentathlon despite more than 100 years in the Games since its inception by IOC founder Pierre de Coubertin.
All three sports were excluded from the initial list of 28 in the 2028 program, which will be submitted to IOC members for approval in February.
The list of approved sports includes skateboarding, surfing, and sport climbing. All three made successful Olympic debuts in Tokyo and appear to be locked in for the future as the IOC pursues a younger audience.
It also allows them to receive a share of future Olympic broadcast revenue, which currently amounts to at least $ 15 million for each sport.
The three sports left in isolation on Thursday still have a “path to inclusion” at the annual meeting of IOC members in 2023, Bach said.
They must “demonstrate to the satisfaction” of the IOC Executive Board that they have made various changes to the governance and organizational culture of sports. Modern pentathlon must also replace riding with a more inclusive discipline accessible to young people around the world.
Football is still on the Los Angeles agenda, but Bach has warned FIFA over his intention to play World Cups every two years, instead of all four. The current cycle of Men’s World Cups would put any biennial tournament in direct conflict with the Los Angeles Olympics.
The World Cup plan, which has met with resistance in Europe and South America, is being pushed by FIFA president Gianni Infantino, but momentum has stalled in recent weeks.
Bach said the IOC still had not been consulted on the plan, but was due to speak to Infantino – an elected IOC member – at an online meeting of Olympic sports leaders on Saturday.
Other sports may also be added to the Los Angeles sports program in 2023, when local organizers must apply for the medals they wish to host. Baseball and softball are a potential choice. They were added by the organizers to the Tokyo Olympics, along with karate, to appeal to Japanese fans.
Baseball, softball and karate were not requested by the organizers of the Paris 2024 Olympics, which will offer breakdance in addition to skateboarding, surfing and sport climbing.