Your Heard It Here ...
Dateline: approaching 1-Apr-2011
It’s that time of year again - and that Mad March Hare called the UCI is running around again.
This week’s World Track Cycling Championships in Apeldoorn provided more than just news from the track. According to the BBC (link...) the UCI has confirmed it is once again seeking to include skateboarding - along with BMX freestyle - in future Olympic Games. Now only a few weeks ago I said that I was going to try to stop knocking the UCI. But come on guys ... you are deliberately making it hard for me.
The BBC reports “Skateboarding's chances of becoming an Olympic event benefit greatly from the backing and influence of the UCI, one of Olympic sport's most powerful governing bodies....... "They're all related to wheels, they're all related to bikes as such, and from that point of view cycling is the sport that can bring those disciplines in," explained McQuaid.
Roller sports have failed in separate bids for Olympic inclusion at London 2012 and Rio 2016, both spearheaded by the International Roller Sports Federation (FIRS) without the UCI's help.
Skateboarding would not have been included under those plans, which favoured the likes of rollerblading and roller hockey.
In the past, the introduction of new Olympic disciplines has routinely required the elimination of others. However, BBC Sport understands the UCI hopes to introduce skateboarding without losing any other events from its Olympic schedule.”
A few years back I wrote - “Quite why the Olympic Committee with the compliance of the UCI decided that adding BMX meant cutting back at the Velodrome is hard to fathom. And back in 2005 there were serious attempts from the grassroots to reverse the decision. A decision that did not save any money - since both tracks had still to be built. And it did not streamline the overall Games schedules since the two venues operate independently; events can be run at both at the same time. And the dropped events - the 500m and 1km - have normally been some of the first in the Games schedules to reach a conclusion; with no heats or repecharges to go through. With a field of, say, 50 competitors the whole procedure can be completed in an afternoon. So why make a change? And who forced it through?”
Indeed it is now 6 years since a petition of over 10,000 cyclists and officials - asking to retain the 500m and 1km - was completely ignored by the UCI (more...). A constant stream of complaints about the dropping of the individual pursuits in 2012 has similarly been totally ignored. And who actually supported removing these pursuit events any way? So far no competitors, commentators, rank-and-file cyclists or even national officials have, to my knowledge, been in favour. It is only the UCI - and those dependent on the UCI for their own positions - that have given the changes any backing.
So have the UCI fought to get the 500m/1km and pursuits back in a future Olympics programme - if not 2016 then certainly 2020? Have the UCI taken on board the views of the people they claim to represent? Are national cycling associations pushing for skateboarding and freestyle BMX to become Olympic and World Championship cycling events? Are members of the national cycling associations demanding roller-blading, etc to be handled by the UCI?
That’s four questions and four firm NO answers in my book.