IOC Confirms New Olympic Track Event Line-Up

IOC Confirms New Olympic Track Event Line-Up

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IOC Confirms New Olympic Track Cycling Line-Up

10 December 2009

In pursuit of fairness - the women's Team Pursuit will feature at the 2012 Olympics in London

The Executive Board (EB) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced the expected changes to the Track Cycling programme at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

The changes to the track cycling programme will see both men and women competing in the sprint, team sprint, keirin, team pursuit, and omnium events. To make room for the increase in women's events and the inclusion of the men's omnium, several well-established events will be lost from the Games.

The men's and women's individual pursuit, men's and women's points race and men's Madison events will no longer feature in 2012. The overall effect is for the number of women's Track events to increase from three in Beijing in 2008 to five in London. The total number of track cycling events now at five each for men and women. There were seven men's events and three women's events in Beijing.

The EB agreed to this modification as the UCI has adjusted its Track cycling programme to remain within its current number of events and athletes.

These changes in the Track cycling programme bring the number of women cyclists at the Games to 84, up from 35 in Beijing. Women will now make up 45% of the total number of track cyclists at the Games (compared to 19% in Beijing).

Reaction to the Announcement

British Cycling's Performance Director, Dave Brailsford said: "The issue of gender inequality within the Olympic track cycling events needed to be resolved and in that regard, I think the IOC move is to be applauded. The detail of how the parity could be achieved was by adding or removing events and there were always going to be winners and losers.

It's a shame to have lost great events such as the Individual Pursuit, Points and Madison, however I believe the UCI have been very creative to include the Omnium within which the Individual Pursuit and the Points Race will still figure."

British Cycling's President, Brian Cookson, said: "This is a difficult matter, and I share the disappointment that some will be feeling, but frankly it was inevitable that changes had to be made to the Olympic track programme, given the huge imbalance between men's and women's events. Cycling was very poor in that respect compared with almost all other sports in the Games - that couldn't continue, and rightly so.

If the IOC would have been prepared to allow additional events, then no doubt a range of different solutions would have been possible. However, despite a number of discussions, that clearly wasn't going to happen, so something had to give.

I think this is as good a solution as we were likely to achieve, in the overall interests of our sport within the particular framework of the Olympic Games. The team events are vital because they give us and all other countries the justification for the critical mass of riders and staff, and the development programmes that support them. So it's good news that we have both sprint and endurance team events.

Some people have claimed that the new programme changes the balance between the sprint and endurance. However, this issue could be simply addressed if the pursuit and points events in the omnium were to go to full distance, rather than the shorter events featured in the World Championships Omnium. I can't prejudge that, but this may well be a possibility that the UCI will want to consider.

Let's look on the positive side - we have an Olympic programme that is properly balanced giving equal medal chances to men and women. The programme will be great for the spectator and the television audience, featuring all the classic cycling disciplines apart from the madison, which frankly always confused the general public. In my view the omnium will in time become the blue riband event for track cycling - a stage race on the track.

And from the British point of view, I am sure that our riders have the talent, ability and the back-up to deliver another outstanding set of medals in London on this programme of events".