April 2002

Contact: Bill Schechter (212) 751-4532
Jerry Koenig (719) 636-2695

Bowling’s Prospects for Olympic Status

Discussed with IOC President Dr. Jacques Rogge

Colorado Springs, CO., April 29, 2002 Bowling’s quest to be recognized as an Olympic sport recently (April 11th) took another turn in Lausanne, Switzerland at International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters.

There, IOC President Dr. Jacques Rogge briefed Fédération Internationale des Quilleurs (FIQ) President Jerry Koenig on IOC procedures and policies that will determine which, if any, sports are to be added to the Olympic Programme for the Beijing Games in 2008. Tenpin President, Dr. P.S. Nathan, European Zone President, Addie Ophelders and Asian Zone President, Vivien Fung accompanied Koenig for the meeting, which was also attended by Gilbert Felli, IOC Director of Sport.

"President Rogge was candid and helpful, as always," Koenig said. "As a fair-minded leader, we would not expect him to show any favoritism and we recognize he offers every aspiring sport the same basic information and hospitable treatment."

"We are encouraged nonetheless, because President Rogge complimented the FIQ leadership for the quality and extent of information it has continuously provided to IOC members and administrators, and because we merit favorable consideration based on bowling’s significance on the international sport scene."

President Rogge clearly stated that it is important for every candidate sport to understand that no sport will be added to the Olympic Programme unless an existing sport first is removed. "There’s a prevailing mood at the new IOC leadership level that the program is as large as it should be right now, " Koenig said. "But there is no other impediment to adding new sports that meet basic criteria, such as popularity, worldwide audience interest, marketing potential, gender equality and objectivity, as is clearly the case for bowling."

As planned, candidate sports will be evaluated in a three-stage procedure. Initially, the IOC Programme Commission will meet in July to review a comparative analysis of bowling and other contenders. This review will be based on internal information provided to the Commission by the IOC Sports Department. Next, the Commission’s findings will be presented to the IOC Executive Board at its meeting in August.

Finally, the entire IOC membership will meet November 28-29, 2002, in Mexico City to consider recommendations from the IOC Executive Board and to vote on whether any sport should be removed. If any sport is removed (based on a two-thirds majority vote), a newcomer from the contending list (currently 14) could be added to the Programme.

"We have our work cut out for us over the coming weeks," Koenig said. "Based on the information we have received from President Rogge and Sport Director Felli, we will repackage our materials in written and video formats and put them in the right hands, on a timely basis. And, based on a uniform commitment from IOC leaders that the review process will be objective and nonpolitical, FIQ will not conduct any further lobbying presentations on behalf of the sport of bowling, pending the results of the IOC extraordinary session in Mexico City.

The Fédération Internationale des Quilleurs is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the world governing body for tenpin and ninepin bowling. There are 125 member federations in all Olympic Zones comprising more than one hundred million participants. Its tenpin discipline is included on the official program of almost all major world and regional multi-sport competitions, including the Asian Games, Pan-American Games and World Games. World and Zone (American, Asian and European), as well as National Championships are conducted annually or biennially for adults or youth.

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