track cycling removed from olympic events, tennis mixed doubles added instead.

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maggie
Participant
#

OC approves cycling changes, tennis mixed doubles

By STEPHEN WILSON

AP Sports Writer

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Olympics News

Phinney’s effort to keep pursuit falls short

IOC approves cycling changes, tennis mixed doubles

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Olympic leaders made two roster changes Thursday for the 2012 London Games: Track cycling’s signature endurance race is out and tennis mixed doubles is in.

The International Olympic Committee executive board agreed to a program of five men’s and five women’s track cycling events as part of a plan proposed by cycling’s governing body. As a result, the Olympics will lose track cycling’s 4,000-meter individual pursuit for men and 3,000-meter pursuit for women.

Cycling had seven track events for men and three for women at the 2008 Beijing Games. Thursday’s changes were designed to make sure male and females compete in an equal number of events in London.

The number of women track cyclists in London will rise to 84, up from 35 in Beijing in 2008. Women will make up 45 percent of the total number of Olympic track cyclists, compared with 19 percent in Beijing.

Mixed doubles was played at several Olympics from 1900 to 1924. The last gold medalists were Americans Richard Williams and Hazel Wightman in Paris in 1924. Tennis was dropped from the Olympics after 1924 but returned as a medal event in 1988 without mixed doubles.

The IOC said mixed doubles “will bring an added value to the Olympic program by providing another opportunity for men and women to compete together on the same field of play.”

Dozens of current and former cyclists, including Lance Armstrong, have spoken out against dropping the individual pursuit. Among those affected are reigning 19-year-old world champion Taylor Phinney of the United States and two-time Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins of Britain.

IOC president Jacques Rogge said the committee was following the recommendations of the sport’s ruling body.

“It is the advice of the UCI that the new format would be more appealing,” he said at a news conference. “Of course, the concerned riders regret that. This is perfectly understandable but the executive board of UCI considered the new format would be far more appealing.”

“There is a general shift as you know from endurance events more to sprint events,” he added. “That is a consideration being made by the experts of cycling, not the IOC.”

Also eliminated are the men’s and women’s points races, and men’s madison.

The new Olympic program includes men’s and women’s competition in individual sprint, team sprint, keirin, team pursuit and the five-race omnium event. The omnium combines performances in a 3-kilometer individual pursuit, 200-meter sprint, 1-kilometer time trial, 15-kilometer points race and 5-kilometer scratch race.

Phinney posted a message on his Twitter feed saying “we have been unsuccessful in our fight … We now move on.”

Wiggins, who won the men’s pursuit in Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008, will miss the chance to go for a third gold in the event in his home city.

“It’s disappointing, but it’s not something I can control or have an effect on,” he said. “It would have been nice to have been back there and going for No. 3 in the individual. It’s a bit drastic losing three endurance events and replacing it with something like the omnium which, in my opinion, is a poor event to watch. But it doesn’t matter what we think. We’re just the riders.”

Reigning women’s pursuit champion Rebecca Romero of Britain added: “I’m disappointed that the chance for me to defend my Olympic title has been taken away, especially at this late stage in the Olympiad only two years before Olympic qualification.”

Rogge said the UCI had conducted “extensive” surveys that supported the changes.

“They are adamant that the new program is an improvement for cycling and especially that it will improve the audience and the popularity of the track events,” he said. “You can always argue about one individual event. The individual event might be very popular in some countries where medals are won, but not necessarily in other countries where there are no riders of high quality.”

“You have always to distinguish the big picture from any particular country where some heroes win a lot of medals,” he said. “That does not reflect necessarily on the world view.”

On the final day of a two-day meeting, the IOC board also ratified a proposal by the International Tennis Federation for inclusion of a 16-team mixed doubles competition in London, where the tournament will be played on grass at Wimbledon.

In August, the IOC said it wanted guarantees that top players in singles would be able to participate in mixed doubles. Outside of the Olympics, the top singles players rarely play doubles or mixed doubles.

Thursday’s decision was welcomed by ITF president Francesco Ricci Bitti.

“We believe that this addition will make Olympic tennis a truly unique event, with top players having the opportunity to compete for their countries and the honor of an Olympic Medal in three distinct disciplines: singles, doubles and mixed doubles,” he said.


erok
Keymaster
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is this good or bad?


erok
Keymaster
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not being a jerk, i just don’t know enough about this. seems like there’s more opportunity too?


dmtroyer
Participant
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the title of your post is a bit misleading. they haven’t removed track cycling. yes, they removed some events, most of which were male-only, but they added just as many others. If my math is correct there will actually be more track cyclists at London’s olympics than Beijings (187 instead of 184).


maggie
Participant
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i fail. :(


erok
Keymaster
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haha. no fail. i wouldn’t have known about this


Ohiojeff
Participant
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The UCI favors the Omnium over the Pursuit for reasons of their own.

More than you want to know


edmonds59
Participant
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Those Londoners totally need to organize an underground olympic-alternate open invitational fixie alleycat during the games, work out some tele coverage of THAT. That would be flippin sweet!


Mick
Participant
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Someone needs to find the 13 meanest hills in London.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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London has hills?


edmonds59
Participant
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Never been to London, but from what I’ve seen it would probably need to be the 13 meanest parking garage ramps.


mark
Participant
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i bet they have some sickkkkk parking garages in london….


Ohiojeff
Participant
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London is a big place and does have some hills, esp. as you get out toward Hampstead, but it’s not Pittsburgh topo wise. I haven’t been there in 30 years but what I remember is that lots of people get around by taxis, busses, and the Tube. It’s kind of like NYC, not as many people own cars. They even charge a tax to drive into the “City.” There must be “car parks” but I don’t remember them. I’ll bet they don’t have very many “tall” ones though.


steevo
Participant
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In terms of total cycling, track cycling is pretty

sparse, even to a bike racer. Like if you are under

18 and you race track, the joke is that everybody

gets a national championship.

They only added bmx last olympics, and it has been

competitively popular with track racing for a long

time. (Pittsburgh has 6 bmx tracks in the same radius as 2 velodromes)…

There are cycling disciplines that (i believe) are

more spectator friendly than track… like short

track mountain bike racing (25 minute race on a

5 minute course…)…. Track is so weird… it is

like cricket.. you can watch it for like a hour and still not really know what is going on.


brian j
Participant
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Track is so weird… it is

like cricket.. you can watch it for like a hour and still not really know what is going on.

Amen. I think people think “track cycling” and think “track and field”–the racers just try to go really fast and beat the other people. The one event that might actually resemble that (the match sprint), often includes the riders coming to a standstill in the middle of the race.


erok
Keymaster
#

In terms of total cycling, track cycling is pretty

sparse, even to a bike racer. Like if you are under

18 and you race track, the joke is that everybody

gets a national championship.

is this true in other countries or just here in the states. it is the olympics


steevo
Participant
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Not totally sure about developing countries.

I do know that some of the biggest track countries

were some of our biggest rivals in bmx (Australia

and the UK).


eMcK
Participant
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Isn’t there some British tradition of competitive hill climb races on fixed gear bikes?


edmonds59
Participant
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You may be thinking of the Coopers Hill cheese rolling, except it is downhill, involves cheese, and no bikes. Google it. It’s ridiculous. It should definitely go Olympic.

I’d post a link, but I’m too damn tired right now.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I just got back up, so here you go.


edmonds59
Participant
#

Outstanding, thanks for picking up my slack!

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