Skating, cycling bosses propose major changes to Olympic programs
Presidents of the international skating and cycling unions suggested major changes to the Olympics, including cutting figure skating short programs, eliminating short track speed skating and moving summer indoor sports to the Winter Games.
International Skating Union (ISU) president Ottavio Cinquanta outlined what he called “personal opinions,” a summary of proposals he put forth for consideration in an internal letter to ISU officials. The Italian Cinquanta’s reign as ISU president, since 1994, is expected to end in 2016.
Here’s a summary:
Figure skating ideas
Abolish all short programs.
Make free skates the same time across all four disciplines (men’s and pairs are currently 4 minutes, 30 seconds, while women and ice dance are 4 minutes).
Add synchronized skating to the Olympics.
Speed skating/Short track ideas
Move to a mass start in speed skating with a maximum of two skaters per country per event (currently it is three or four) to ensure a nation does not sweep gold, silver and bronze in any event. Cinquanta prefaced this by noting the Netherlands “monopolized” the speed skating medals in Sochi (winning 23 of a possible 32), calling the dominance a “sign of high concern.”
Switch from a 400m oval to a 250m oval and eventually cancel short track events.
Replace speed skating’s 1000m, women’s 5000m and men’s 10,000m with 16-lap mass starts and a mixed relay.
Meanwhile, International Cycling Union (UCI) president Brian Cookson suggested discussions about moving track cycling, combat sports such as judo and indoor sports like badminton to the Winter Olympics.
“If you have a problem with Summer Olympics where the whole thing is perceived as overheated with too many facilities, too many sports, too many competitors and so on, why not look at moving some of the other sports that traditionally take place in the winter in the northern hemisphere indoors,” Cookson said, according Agence-France Presse citing Press Association Sport. “If we moved track cycling to the Winter Olympics and that allowed us to have more track cycling events and more medals then that could be a pretty good outcome.
“So let’s talk about those things and see what the stakeholders, the national federations, the teams and the competitors have to say about those options.”
It would not be unprecedented to move sports from the Summer Olympics to Winter Olympics. Ice hockey and figure skating were Summer Olympic sports before the first edition of the Winter Olympics in 1924.