IOC expands track medals for 2012

Lausanne. 1 April 2009 (AP)

The International Olympic Committee announced today at a news conference an expansion in the number of medals to be awarded in athletics beginning with the 2012 Games. In a press release, the I.O.C. stated, “Beginning with London, we will offer five medals per event in athletics. This change was made in consultation with I.A.A.F. [the athletics federation] and was necessitated by the ever-increasing demand for medals by participating nations. Since the Beijing Games, country after country has announced the need for more medals in the next Olympics. Most recently, the United States stated that they require 30 medals in 2012 and the demand from other countries has increased proportionately. This increased demand cannot be met without increased supply, hence today’s action.”

In the brief news conference, Jacques Rogge, I.O.C. president, said that offering more than the traditional three medals per event is not unprecedented. He cited the awarding of double bronze medals in boxing as an example. When asked what the additional two medals in athletics would be called, Rogge said that a committee would be formed to study the issue. He indicated several possibilities: medals above gold, medals below bronze or a combination. He also noted the possibility of medals designated only by color rather than metallic content.

Rogge was asked whether the increased number of medals might devalue them. He replied that, “three medals might have been appropriate 100, 50 or even 25 years ago, but the Olympic Movement must change with the times. People want success and we must make it possible. I can envision a day when all eight event finalists in athletics will receive medals.”

IAAF President Lamine Diack, who was in attendance, stated, “I believe this move will give a major boost to our sport, creating wider interest among both athletes and spectators. It will also be a benefit to meet sponsors, who can attract audiences based on the number of Olympic medalists in their entry lists.”

When asked about the possibility that other sports would also request more medals, Rogge said, “We are always open to ideas and requests from the [sports] Federations. However, while other sports are certainly competitive at the Games, the situation in athletics is unique in that so many nations expect high results. So, for example, if we increased the number of medals in swimming, it would likely only result in the United States and Australia taking more, not spreading the medals to other countries. We must view the sports on a case-by-case basis.”

Reached in Colorado Springs, Colorado, interim USOC CEO Stephanie Streeter commented, “this will be a big help to us in achieving our goal of 30 medals in track and field in London. We would like to see this idea expanded to additional sports, but this is a great beginning.”

April fools?

They should have given Bolt a Platinum medal for the way he destroyed everyone last year