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World Athletics wants cross-country running in 2024 Paris Olympics

IAAF World Cross Country Championships

AARHUS, DENMARK - MARCH 30: Sarah Schiffmann of Australia competes in the Women’s U20 Final during the IAAF World Athletics Country Championships on March 30, 2019 in Aarhus, Denmark. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

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World Athletics is proposing adding a mixed-gender cross-country relay to the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

The event would include two men and two women per nation running 2.5 kilometers (1.55 miles) twice, World Athletics president Seb Coe said Thursday. The IOC would have to approve it.

“We’re right at the start of the journey of the discussions with the IOC,” World Athletics CEO Jon Ridgeon said, noting it’s not decided until the end of the year.

Previously, Coe and World Athletics (then the IAAF) discussed adding cross-country to the Winter Games, but it never came to fruition.

Cross-country running was on the Summer Olympic program from 1912 through 1924, the last time Paris hosted the Olympics.

In 2008, Olympic distance-running legends Kenenisa Bekele, Haile Gebrselassie and Paul Tergat wrote to then-IOC president Jacques Rogge and then-IAAF president Lamine Diack to try to get cross-country running back into the Olympics.

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