Sevens, golf join Olympics
IOC chief Jacques Rogge (File)
Golf and rugby union sevens will be included as sports at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on Friday.
IOC members rubber-stamped the two sports at a congress here after the executive board had voted to include them at a meeting in August.
Rugby sevens received 81 votes for and eight against with one abstention, while golf had 63 for and 27 against with two members abstaining.
The two sports will be included in the programme for the 2016 Rio Games, bringing the number of sports there to the IOC's stated maximum of 28.
Rugby sevens will see 12 teams each in men's and women's competition, with the sport's governing body the IRB having pledged to end its showpiece World Cup Sevens tournament.
The International Golf Federation (IGF) has promised that the world's best will take part in Olympic golf, which will see 60 players in both the men and women's competitions facing off over 72 holes.
"We are elated that the IOC membership has accepted golf as an Olympic sport, and look forward to seeing the world's best golfers compete for gold at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro," said Ty Votaw, executive director of the IGF's Olympic Golf Committee, which has coordinated golf's Olympic bid.
"We have received unprecedented support from international golf organisations throughout this process, as well as from the world's top-ranked men and women players, which was critical to our success.
"We also stressed the universal nature of golf, with 60 million people playing the sport in more than 120 countries."
IRB president Bernard Lapasset also played on the universal appeal of rugby union sevens, which often sees upsets on its global circuit.
"This is a historic moment for our sport and for the global rugby community, who were united in support of our campaign," the Frenchman said.
"We are excited and honoured to be joining the Olympic Games and I would like to thank the IOC members for believing in our Olympic vision and our values and recognising that rugby sevens is a perfect fit for the Olympic Games.
"The Olympic Games will be the pinnacle of the sport for all our athletes and the rugby family. The best men's and women's players in the world are excited to be able to showcase their talent on the world's greatest sporting stage.
"We are now looking forward to working in partnership with the IOC to develop and implement a Rugby Sevens tournament in Rio that will reach out to new audiences and inspire a new generation of sports fans around the world."
Softball, squash, baseball, karate and roller sports were also in contention for Olympic spots until their elimination by the executive board vote two months ago.
Both rugby and golf have been played previously at Olympics.
Golf was played at the Paris Games in 1900 and four years later in St Louis, while rugby was played between 1900-24, in the full 15-a-side format.