After much deliberation golf has been voted into the olympics, this will commence during the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro. The vote on the inclusion of the two sports – which includes the 2020 Games as well as 2016 – had originally been due at 1100 GMT at the IOC’s congress in Copenhagen, Denmark.
It was delayed while some IOC members expressed concern about the process by which the sports had been selected for inclusion by the IOC’s executive board. But when the vote was finally taken both passed with flying colours, although the majority in favour of golf was somewhat smaller than that in favour of its fellow returnee to the Olympic family.
Both sports were part of the Games programme in the early part of the twentieth century before being dropped, and golf returns to the Games for the first time since the St Louis Olympics of 1904.
One of the main issues had been whether top players would compete in the Olympics but the game’s brightest star, Tiger Woods, had indicated on Tuesday he would play.
Golf’s presentation video included stars of past and present including Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Woods. The presentation party on the day included 16-year-old Italian Matteo Manassero, the 2009 British amateur champion, and American Michelle Wie, who said it would be a “dream” to play in the Olympics.
Wie said: “I can dream about being an Olympian, and I can dream of doing something not even Tiger or Ernie has ever done, that is to make the putt to win the gold medal.”
Nicklaus, an 18-time major winner, said: “All of us who have spent our lives playing and enjoying the game of golf fully understand why it deserved a spot on the Olympic programme.
“Now the sport I have always called the greatest game of all can be shared with the rest of the world on the greatest stage in sports.”
Rugby union was last part of the Olympics in 1924 in the full 15-man version of the code, and will return to the Games in the truncated seven-a-side version.
Rugby sevens was represented on the day by stars including All Black legend Jonah Lomu, former Argentina captain Agustin Pichot, Kenya captain Humphrey Kayange and Australia women’s captain Cheryl Soon.
A number of delegates preferred to praise the sport rather than question the panel, but among the queries posed was whether the game’s top stars would play in Rio.
Lomu, a former Commonwealth Games gold medallist, said: “To see my sport in the best arena would be fantastic for rugby, men’s and women’s. We are very passionate about it – you just have to say where we have to play and the best players will come.