COPENHAGEN // Golf and rugby sevens have been added to the Olympic schedule from the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said today. The two sports were added to the Summer Games line-up after a vote of members at the IOC session in Copenhagen, Denmark. Golf last featured in an Olympics in 1904 while rugby was taken off the Olympic schedule after the 1924 Games in Paris.
They are guaranteed an appearance for two consecutive Games. The IOC, eager to revamp its sports programme to attract younger viewers, voted to raise the number of sports to 28 for the Rio Olympics, including the fast-paced version of rugby played with seven players instead of 15 and men's and women's 72-hole stroke play for golf. The 2012 London Games will have 26 sports after baseball and softball were taken off the programme in 2005.
"Time will show that your decision was very wise," the IOC president Jacques Rogge told members after the vote. Golf earned 63 votes for inclusion and 27 against, while rugby sevens attracted 81 for and eight against. The two sports are guaranteed global expansion and cash with funding from the IOC, increased broadcast rights deals and, in some countries, automatic national funding as an Olympic sport.
Analysts have estimated that rugby sevens will easily double its current sponsorship money of about US$15-20 million by joining the Olympics. * Reuters