LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) The IOC gave its approval to adding women”s wrestling for the 2004 Olympics but told boxing to cut one of its weight divisions and rejected new events in a number of other sports.
The moves yesterday by the International Olympic Committee must still be adopted by the sports” international federations before they are applied to the schedule for the Athens Games.
Because the addition of women”s wrestling is tied to a cut in men”s wrestling events, final approval is not a certainty.
The action reflected a drive by new IOC president Jacques Rogge to control the size of the Olympics. Under the previous president, Juan Antonio Samaranch, the number of sports and athletes grew steadily without any significant cuts.
“This is the first time we don”t increase the number of events on the program,” IOC sports director Gilbert Felli said. “Until now, we added an average of 20 or more events per games since the 1950s.”
The IOC plan, approved by its ruling executive board, envisions the participation of 10,508 athletes competing in 299 events in Athens. In Sydney last year, there were 10,655 athletes in 300 events.
“To control the size of the games, we have to control the number of events,” Felli said. “We need to keep to a maximum of 10,500 athletes and 300 events.”
In the continuing effort to increase female participation in the Olympics, the IOC gave it”s approval to the addition of four women”s events in wrestling. But, in return, two men”s wrestling events would have to be cut.
Felli said the international wrestling federation may not agree to the reduction.
“If we are going to be tough, we will tell them, “If you want to include women and increase the quota, then you must also eliminate the other events,”” he said.
Of the 28 sports on the Olympic program, boxing and baseball would be the only ones left without women”s events. However, women”s softball has been played since 1996.
The most significant cut proposed Wednesday was in boxing, with the elimination of one weight division, a total of 26 boxers.
Felli said he believed the heaviest weight class the super heavyweight category would be the one to go. Heavyweight boxers would continue to compete, but the decision would force a reshuffling of the various weight divisions.
In Sydney, there were 310 boxers competing in 12 divisions. In Athens, there would be 286 fighters in 11 classes.
The IOC also introduced maximum quotas in track (2,000 athletes) and swimming (1,300). Those two sports have often surpassed their quotas, with 2,146 track and field athletes (over the 2,000 limit) competing in Sydney and 1,448 (over the 1,273 limit) in swimming.
Rejected were requests for new events or additional teams in swimming, baseball and tennis.