Last September, Bekele, Tergat, and Gebrselassie wrote an open letter to the International Olympic Committee to try to get cross country reinstated into the Olympic Games. Cross country was originally removed after the 1924 Paris Games when unseasonably hot weather combined with the course going by an industrial chimney spewing noxious fumes led to 23 of 38 runners not finishing the race.
The International Association of Athletics Federations has officially backed the request for a cross country race, stating that it is perfectly reasonable to hold the race on snow for the Winter Olympics, which has the benefit of giving countries such as Kenya and Ethiopia an interest in the Games. Discussions will resume after the 2010 Vancouver Games.
Lamine Diack, the President of the IAAF, said: “The IOC have now written to us to ask our advice and we have told them that we are in favour of it.
“We are prepared to organise cross country in the Winter Olympics.
“It would be a good move for our sport.”
As I stated 6 months ago, I’d love to see cross country included in the games, and holding it the Winter just means that there will be tougher conditions that will be more fun to watch.
The traditional winter sports will probably find a way to block cross country running from the Winter Games, but hopefully there is enough support to overcome that.
(More Info: Inside the Games – Photo Credit: )