In the News — April 9, 2014
UCI cycling head Brian Cookson has reiterated his desire to discuss the re-allocation of select Summer Olympic sports to the Winter Games, reported Zarif Rasul.
“Despite widespread criticism of his proposals,” the head of the International Cycling Union which governs all professional and Olympic cycling, suggested that moving certain Summer Olympic sports such as cycling, judo and badminton to the Winter Games “could be a viable method of easing congestion on the summer event,” writes Rasul on the Association Internationale de la Presse Sportive website.
But the organization’s press release is far vaguer than Rasul’s interpretation of it, and Cookson’s remarks could simply be intended to increase the number of cycling programs at the Olympics, such as offering cycle-cross and downhill mountain biking at the winter Olympics if it doesn’t fit in the summer time.
“I hope that in cycling we can make the case that there is real merit in not only maintaining but also expanding the cycling programme through potential opportunities in both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games,” he said in a press release.
Last year Cookson replaced Pat McQuaid as president of the International Cycling Union (UCI) in a hugely magnified public fight over the governance of the organization.
International Judo Federation (IJF) president Marius Vizer, who is also president of SportAccord, laughed off Cookson’s proposals, while International Ski Federation (FIS) chief Gian-Franco Kasper described his ideas as “completely ridiculous.”
Writes Rasul, “Cookson has apologized for the way in which he put forward his ideas but believes these suggestions should be investigated through International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach’s review of the Olympic programme.”
“I want to make it clear that my comments were very much blue-sky thinking off the top of my head. But if IOC president Thomas Bach wants a genuine debate and an open and honest one, then let’s put all of these ideas on the table,” said Cookson.
Irishman Cookson came from behind in the race to replace McQuaid after allegations flew in the media and in the pro cycling ranks that McQuaid was largely responsible for the massive drug debacle that took place around the Tour de France and other pro cycling in the past few years.
Even Lance Armstrong, the most visible of all pro cyclists to take the fall during the sport clean up, called McQuaid a hypocrite and blamed him for the sport’s troubles. “Pat is just in constant CYA (Cover Your Ass) mode. Pathetic.,” Armstrong told Cycling News in January 2013.