Rucking leaves Olympic ideal at sixes and sevens

If Games are supposed to be pinnacle of achievement why are rugby and golf being considered for 2016?

An unseemly scrum is developing in the race to get into the Olympics-after-next and rugby is right there in the thick of it, shoving, rucking and mauling towards inclusion in 2016. The sevens version is one of seven sports – golf, squash, baseball, softball, karate and roller-skating are the others – two of which will find their way into the Games of 2016, thus adding to a gargantuan programme which is already overcrowded and increasingly unwieldy.

International Olympic Committee sources say they have been taken aback by the ferocity of the campaign to get sevens up and running, and you can bet that if two sports are eliminated from the list at a presentation in Lausanne tomorrow, rugby will not be one of them. Nor will golf, another sport which is using its wealth and muscle – and the voice of Colin Montgomerie – to argue its case to get on the Olympic bandwagon.

There is a counter-argument that the Olympics does not need more sports but rather less. The Games are in danger of losing sight of what they should be about, if they haven't already: the pinnacle of achievement for any competitor. Can rugby say that is the case, or golf? Would Tiger Woods prefer the Green Jacket or an Olympic blazer? I have long thought that tennis has no place in the Games for that very reason. Ask Andy Murray if he would prefer to win the Olympics, or Wimbledon.

There is a further step before the final rubber-stamping is done at the IOC congress in Copenhagen in October, when the decision on where the 2016 Games will be held is made – Chicago is rightly the front runner. The remaining bidding sports will be whittled down to the proposed two at an executive board meeting in Berlin next month. What odds rugby sevens and golf topping the poll?

Some PR-orchestrated ball-twisting seems to have been going on in the scrum to push rugby's case, such as the curiously inflated statistics for the sport's universal appeal via viewing figures for the recent IRB Sevens World Cup in Dubai. It is claimed that 760 million people in 141 countries watched the event. Oh yeah? That's almost as many as the Games themselves. It does not harm rugby's case that IOC president Jacques Rogge is a former Belgian flanker. He may not have a vote but he does have influence.

And while he emphasises that he cannot be seen publicly to be supporting it, the British Olympic Association's performance chief Sir Clive Woodward, formerly the England rugby union coach, tells us: "I think sevens would be a fantastic Olympic sport. A lot of teams could win it, unlike the full game – Russia, America, or China. It would be good for the Olympics and good for sport."

Montgomerie calls it "a great shame that golf isn't an Olympic sport". On that premise Lewis Hamilton could say the same about Formula One or Phil Taylor about 'arrers. Where will it all end? If more sports have to be included, there are more compelling cases than rugby and golf. Squash has been squeezed out for too long now. It has done much to enhance its small-screen appeal and it's genuinely played in 175 countries. Karate is about the only global contact sport (100 million participants) that is not included, and the increasingly popular women's sport of softball, unfairly jettisoned after Athens, deserves another chance.

If they really want to make the Games more televisual, why not turn the whole five-ringed circus into a glorified "Super O", cutting all the sports down to bite-sized chunks following the current fad. That way they could also include Twenty20 cricket, Snooker Sixes, and five-a-side football rather than the controversial Undrr 23l game. Or even beach football; after all, you have beach volleyball.

Failing that, they could always spice things up by introducing the exhibition sport of waterboarding, to be contested by the Met Police and the CIA.

Ronaldo's departure is a blessing not a blow

Sir Alex Ferguson once said that he wouldn't sell Real Madrid a virus but he certainly hasn't sold them a dummy – although happily he will be spared the sight of Cristiano Ronaldo spitting his out so frequently. While Il Divo's departure may have his bevy of young female admirers sobbing into their hankies, in Real terms is he that great a loss for a gain of £80 million? That's enough bread to do some serious shopping and pay off a chunk of the debts incurred by the Glazers.

More knowledgeable football sages than I will argue that it could be as much a blessing as a blow, enabling Manchester United to keep Carlos Tevez and allow Wayne Rooney to generate his own R-factor more liberally up front, as he did for England against Andorra on Wednesday.

Inevitably it demonstrates once again that football is as much a game of monopoly for mercenaries as multi-millionaires. Everything and everyone has a price in the pursuit of a philosophy which decrees money can always buy success, something the club across the city have yet to prove.

Real Madrid have a sort of TV licence to print money because unlike Premier League clubs they can do individual deals with television companies without having to share it around. However, the chances of creating a monopoly in La Liga are remote with Barcelona able to play the same game off the field, and an even better one on it. Real may be dreaming of a renaissance of the galacticos but for a total of £136m, Kaka and Ronaldo will not plug the gaps in a defence so brutally exposed by Liverpool. While United have got real, the Real problem remains.

News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift performs at the 2014 iHeart Radio Music Festival
musicReview: 1989's songs attempt to encapsulate dramatic emotional change in a few striking lines
News
Mario Balotelli has been accused of 'threateningly' telling a woman to stop photographing his Ferrari
peoplePolice investigate claim Balotelli acted 'threateningly' towards a woman photographing his Ferrari
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Voices
Don’t try this at home: DIY has now fallen out of favour
voicesNick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of it
Arts and Entertainment
Miranda Hart has called time on her award-winning BBC sitcom, Miranda
tv
Sport
Phil Jones (left) attempts to stop the progress of West Bromwich Albion’s James Morrison on Monday
I'm not worried about United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Arts and Entertainment
Saw point: Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in ‘Serena’
filmReview: Serena is a strangely dour and downbeat affair
Life and Style
The Zinger Double Down King, which is a bun-less burger released in Korea
food + drinkKFC unveils breadless meat beast
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker