IOC chief warns ‘problem’ sports weightlifting, boxing they could be expelled
IOC president Thomas Bach on Thursday warned that the continued inclusion of weightlifting, boxing and modern pentathlon in the Games was in doubt but that skateboarding, climbing and surfing would be kept on the program in Los Angeles in 2028.
Speaking at a press conference at the end of a three-day International Olympic Committee Executive Board in Lausanne, Bach also expressed thinly-veiled frustration with FIFA and announced that the three nominees for IOC seats included a refugee athlete.
Bach called boxing and weightlifting the IOC’s “problem children.”
He laid out what the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) and the International Boxing Association (AIBA) must do to be included at the next Games in Paris in 2024.
“AIBA must demonstrate that it has addressed concerns around its governance, its financial transparency and the integrity of its refereeing and judging,” Bach said.
The IOC is insisting the IWF leadership must change and those who take over must demonstrate an “effective change of culture,” Bach said.
“They must successfully address historical incidence of doping in the sport.”
World Pentathlon (UIPM) faces a different problem, Bach said.
The sport, invented by Olympic founder Pierre de Coubertin, attracted headlines in Tokyo when a German coach punched the horse assigned to Annika Schleu, who was leading the event at the time, after it refused to jump.
Pentathlon will be on the program in Paris but is under threat for Los Angeles.
It needs to replace horse riding and revamp its format, said Bach, as well as cutting costs and increasing their appeal to a wider audience.
Skateboarding, surfing and sport climbing joined the Olympics in Tokyo and Bach said the Executive Board was recommending that the full IOC rubber- stamp “these youth-focused” events for 2028 when it meets in Beijing in February.
He said the IOC recognized “the deep roots each of these sports have in LA and in California.”
Bach acknowledged a biennial World Cup could lead to a clash with the Olympics but said FIFA had not told the IOC anything about the plans.
“We have had no consultation with the FIFA president or with FIFA concerning this,” he said, adding that all the IOC knew about the proposals came from the media.
He said the IOC was “drawing the conclusion” that there could be a “biennial World Cup for the first time in 2028” when the Los Angeles Games are scheduled.
“We would have to study what this would mean for availability of the best players and the IOC would then have to consider the consequences.”
Bach announced that among the three nominations for spots on the IOC was Yiech Pur Biel, a runner originally from South Sudan, who competed for the Refugee Olympic Team in the 800m in 2016.
The other two were Danka Bartekova, a Slovak skeet shooter who won bronze at the 2012 London Games and David Lappartient, the president of the International Cycling Union.
Asked what the IOC was doing to ensure that products made by forced labour in the Chinese province of Xinjiang were not used at the upcoming Beijing Games, Executive Board director-general Christophe De Kepper said the IOC was performing “due diligence” and promised a full report in January.