More on karate in the Olympics

Oh, the irony. Not more than an hour after I posted about the differences between Taekwondo and karate and why I didn’t mind if karate wasn’t included in the Olympics, I picked up the free copy of the karate magazine I got at the school on Tuesday, but hadn’t read yet. What is one of its main articles? “Karate and the Olympics,” which went into great detail about what karate organizations need to do to petition to become an Olympic sport. The soonest karate could be included would be 2016.

Apparently, the USA National Karate-Do Federation (USA-NKF) is working to get adequate support from the US Olympic Committee (USOC) to attend the Pan American Games. The Pan Am Games are held in the year before the Olympics, as sort of a preliminary proving grounds for athletes in this hemisphere. The Pan Am Games are required to have competitions in all of the official Olympic sports, but they don’t have to have competitions in the other “recognized” sports. The ones they do decide to allow are then classified as Pan Am Only Sports, and must be renegotiated every four years, each time a new location for the next Pan Am Games is chosen.

This seems to lead to some panic amongst the Pan Am Only Sport organizations, because I get the feeling that they think if they don’t make the Pan Am Games, they’ll be even further from eventual official Olympic status. The article ends like this:

Karate must be forever vigilant to remain on the [Pan Am Games] program for there is a certain element within PASO [Pan American Sports Organization] that wants only the Olympic Sports to be included.

The intrigue! The divisive factions! Karate could be the next backstabbing, scandal-ridden glamor sport!

Anyway, the next time the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will meet about including new sports or dropping old ones will be in 2009.

At that time the IOC Program commission will make a report to the IOC Ex[cutive?] Committee regarding the program for the 2016 Olympic Games. First they will report on their recommendations regarding sports that are on the current program for 2012 and whether these sports should continue to be on the program…

The Program commission will then recommend new sports from the IOC Recognized Sports to be included on the program.

And so on. I went to look at the USA-NKF website to see if there was more, and they have an entire document, jointly from their Board of Directors and the USOC, about “governance restructuring within the organization.” This appears to involve a bunch of high-up organizational changes that are designed to make USA-NKF conform the the USOC standards for a National Governing Body. There’s also an available download of the proposed bylaws that will make all these changes… but it’s 55 pages of dry semi-legalese, and I’m only willing to go so far for this blog entry right now, frankly.

Anyway, this is all interesting, because it does show that karate people are trying to get centralized, which was a problem I pointed out earlier. There’s a big three-page color spread in the center of the magazine for an article/letter/plea titled “Time to Work Together,” encouraging all karate schools and organizations to join together under USA-NKF for this very reason. Having been away from the real karate world for nearly 9 years now, this is all very interesting to me, because it all seems so recent. Amazing how time doesn’t stand still just because you’re not there.

-posted by Dana

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