Roller sports set for IOC evaluation in Italy ahead of 2020 Olympic bid
Thursday, 06 September 2012
September 6 - The International Roller Sports Federation (FIRS) is set for its key inspection from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the evaluation event for inclusion in the 2020 Olympic Games will be the World Speed Skating Championships, which start tomorrow.
Roller sport is one of seven sports bidding to make the 2020 Olympic programme alongside climbing, karate, squash, wakeboard, wushu, baseball and softball, with the latter two likely to make a joint bid.
Roller sport is the second of the seven sports to be evaluated by the IOC after it visited the 2012 Softball Women's World Championships in Canada in July but all seven will be assessed before the end of the year.
The sport itself is a racing discipline similar to ice speed skating, which currently features at the Winter Olympic Games.
In fact, the sports are so similar that many competitors now switch between roller sport and ice speed skating according to the season.
The 2012 World Speed Skating Championships will take place at the Municipal Roller Speed Skating Banked Track in Ascoli Piceno, which has recently been refurbished for the event after years of being abandoned.
The event is due to last until September 15.
Italian company Vesmaco was responsible for creating the new, distinctive blue, state-of-the-art track that has been designed to ensure maximum speed and safety for the athletes.
FIRS President Sabatino Aracu, a high profile Italian politician and former chairman of the 2009 Mediterranean Games in Pescara, is confident that the sport can impress the IOC at the event, despite the fact that it failed in its most recent bid to make the Olympic programme for Rio 2016.
"Now that roller sports are included in the short list for the Olympic programme, we have the opportunity to show to the IOC the contribution we could bring to the Olympic Movement," said Aracu.
"The decision about our exclusion in 2009 [for inclusion at Rio 2016] left us stunned as it was an incomprehensible decision for us.
"We believed at that time, and we believe now, that such a fresh young sport, with a high athletic value, has all the credentials to be present at the Olympic Games."
After attending a major Championships for each of the seven sports, the IOC will compile a report on the merits each discipline and its bid.
The IOC will then make a final decision on which sport, if any, to include at its Session in Buenos Aires in September next year.
Only a maximum of 28 sports are allowed at the Olympic Games and this will be reached at Rio 2016 with the inclusion of golf and rugby sevens.
However, it is highly likely that at least one of the seven bid sports will be included in the 2020 Olympic sports programme with the IOC set to remove at least one discipline currently on the sports programme.
August 2012: Exclusive - Sports bidding for 2020 berth set for IOC evaluation