Originally created 06/14/05

Olympics on the links?



It was teased as a possible sport for the 1996 Olympic Games. Golf in the Atlanta Olympics, though, never happened.

And according to Jim Scherr, chief executive of the United States Olympic Committee, golf is unlikely to be a sport in the 2012 Olympics, either.

"It's doubtful golf will get in in 2012," he said. "It depends on where (the Games) go. If it goes to New York City, then we'll push for the sport to be in."

Scherr was the keynote speaker Monday evening at the Greater Augusta Sports Awards Gala, where the sports council presented Baylor's Daniel Sepulveda the Ray Guy Award as the college Punter of the Year.

The sports council also honored local athletes at the annual banquet at Radisson Riverfront Hotel Augusta.

Scherr spoke on the same day the International Olympic Committee released a 265-page detailed review of the 28 sports in the 2004 Games. Three years earlier, the IOC limited the number of sports in the Olympics to 28.

The Olympic Program Commission now evaluates every Olympic sport. At the IOC session July 8 in Singapore, members will vote to keep or drop the respective sports from the 2012 Games. A sport needs 51 percent of the members' supporting votes to remain in the program.

Should at least one current sport get dropped from the program, up to five possible sports could be added: golf, karate, roller sports, rugby or squash. Of the five sports, golf and rugby have previously been in the Olympics (golf, 1900 and 1904; rugby, 1900, 1908, 1920, 1924).

Scherr said rugby stands the best chance of re-entering the program with golf running second.

"(Golf) is participated so widely around the world," Scherr said. "I think the overriding factor is if the best players in the world want to play. If they do, it will have a good chance to get in."

"I think it makes a big difference whether they make it a professional or amateur sport," said Michael Green, who won two individual state golf titles at Richmond Academy and will join the University of Georgia program in the fall.

Since 2000, seven sports - including trampoline - have been added to the Olympic program.

The site for the 2012 Olympics - New York, Paris, Moscow, London and Madrid, Spain are the finalists - will be selected July 6 in Singapore.

"Everyone considers Paris the front-runner," Scherr said. "But New York will make it a good race."

Reach Chris Gay at (706) 823-3645 or chris.gay@augustachronicle.com.