The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

February 10, 2006

IOC slaps at U.S. programs

These days, it seems, America is as popular in the rest of the world as a dog at a cat show.

Everyone apparently is mad at us, including the International Olympic Committee.

Last week the committee voted not to reinstate baseball and softball in time for the 2012 Olympics in London.

The sports will be contested in 2008 in Beijing and could be reinstated for the 2016 games but will not be on the program in 2012.

That means while we are treated to such sporting spectacles as table tennis, team handball, field hockey and modern pentathlon, two sports invented right here in America will be left off the 2012 program.

America is not the only nation affected by this move, however. The International Softball Federation includes 127 nations, while the International Baseball Federation has 113 member countries.

In baseball, at least, it’s not like the United States has dominated the Olympic competition. Since baseball first became an official Olympic sport in 1992, Cuba has won three of the four gold medals awarded, with the U.S. winning in 2000.

Softball, however, is a different story. The U.S. women have won all three gold medals awarded since the sport became “official” in 1996.

Oh, and the Land of the Free took another hit from the IOC Friday when our only member on the IOC’s executive board was defeated for election.

Maybe it’s time for some American corporations to withhold sponsorship of the Olympics, and for NBC to stop paying billions of dollars for the rights to broadcast the games. Between 2001 and 2004, 87 percent of the IOC’s revenue came from broadcast fees and corporate sponsors. Most of that money is American, coming from corporate sponsors like Coca Cola, Kodak, General Electric, McDonald’s and Visa. The IOC seems to dislike us when they are taking our money, so perhaps it is time to see how their attitudes will change when that money dries up.

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