International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge said in Durban, South Africa on Monday he had been both amazed and impressed at the over-demand for tickets for next year’s Olympics in London.
The Belgian - who stands down in two years time - said the fact 20 million people had applied for 7 million tickets was staggering and rejected suggestions that it was not so amazing that the majority of people had lost out.
“We’re amazed by the demand for tickets for the London Olympics,” said Rogge, who was giving his first press conference following an Executive Board meeting.
“7 million on sale and 20 million wanting tickets. You’re bound to have people who are unhappy.”
Rogge, who has been president since the late Juan Antonio Samaranch stepped down in 2001, also announced that there would be three new sports introduced at the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi.
They will be ski slope, snowboard slope and snowboard parallel slope, the decision coming after painstaking research, said Rogge.
“There was a feasibility study conducted on the slopes and with regard to access to spectators and that there was no congestion problems,” said Rogge, who is a former Olympic yachtsman.
Rogge, who has had a colourful sporting career having also been a boxing referee, also announced that after considering 12 applications from sports to win one spot at the 2020 Summer Games, the Executive Board had drawn up a list of eight.
The eight - baseball, softball, climbing sports, karate, rollersports, squash, wushu and wakeboard - will compete against one of the 26 core sports for the right for inclusion.
“These sports will be evaluated and then a full report issued in 2013,” said Rogge.
“Then they might be shortlisted at that time and then at the IOC Session in 2013 one of the sports will be included in the 2020 Games. The sport that will have to leave the 26 core sports will compete to stay in the Games with these eight.”
Rogge said that the four sports that didn’t make it - dance, surfing, bowling and netball - didn’t meet certain criteria.
“We took into account 30 types of criteria surrounding these sports, such as universality and the fight against doping,” he said.
Rogge, an orthopaedic surgeon by profession, also announced that despite the Netherlands Antilles having dissolved after a referendum their athletes would not lose out for the 2012 Games.
“It no longer exists after a referendum and therefore we cannot recognise them but the athletes preparing for the Olympics will compete under the Olympic flag as Olympic athletes.”
Rogge also said that the time was not too far off when an African bid would materialise for the Games - there had been thoughts that Durban itself would be a candidate for 2020 but they have said they will not, although they could revise that decision.
“The IOC would welcome a strong African bid and it goes without saying I am sure that they will put a strong one together. Maybe not for 2020 but after that.”
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