Cross-country running bid for 2018 Winter Games
LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- Cross-country running is making a bid to be included in the 2018 Winter Games.
The International Olympic Committee said Thursday it will study a request by the track and field governing body to include cross-country running. Its program commission will meet in September and consider the proposal from the IAAF.
The addition of a new sport to the winter program likely will be decided at the IOC session scheduled for July in Durban, South Africa. That's when the host city for the 2018 Winter Olympics will be chosen.
The IOC has rejected previous IAAF petitions for cross-country, and must consider if the event meets Olympic rules.
Rule 6.2 of the Olympic Charter states that "only those sports which are practiced on snow and ice are considered as winter sports."
However, the opportunity to add an event that gives African countries such as Ethiopia and Kenya a genuine chance of winning medals would fit the IOC's policy of "universality" -- encouraging the maximum number of competitors. Of more than 200 Olympic nations, only 82 took part at the Vancouver Olympics in February.
The IOC has more scope to add events and competitors at the Winter Olympics compared to the Summer Games, which is restricted to 10,500 athletes.
"There is a little bit more flexibility within the winter program because there no official cap in terms of athletes," IOC spokeswoman Emmanuelle Moreau said.
The IOC said its program commission also will begin evaluating requests from existing sports for new medal events at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
The International Ski Federation has resubmitted proposals for women's ski jumping and an Alpine skiing team event -- which were rejected for the Vancouver program -- and put forward ski halfpipe and snowboard slopestyle for the first time.
The program commission will advise the IOC executive board, which meets Oct. 23-25 in Acapulco, Mexico.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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