The first Olympic Congress for 43 years was opened by Lord Killanian at Varna in Bulgaria on Sunday (30 September), and almost immediately the delegates found themselves engulfed in a storm of controversy.
The first Olympic Congress for 43 years was opened by Lord Killanian at Varna in Bulgaria on Sunday (30 September), and almost immediately the delegates found themselves engulfed in a storm of controversy. Lord Killanian is the Irish peer who succeeded the American millionaire, Mr. Every Brundage, as President of the International Olympic Committee, and his tenure of office will probably see some of the biggest changes in the history of the Olympic games.
One of the first speakers was Mr. Thomas Keller, the President of the International Amateur Rowing Federation. He had some blunt and forthright things to say about the I. O. C. itself. Everyone interested in sport knew, he said, that entries for the Olympic Games had largely become an open exhibition of lying. Yet the I.O.C. supported the fiction of "amateur" games, when it was fully aware that most national Olympic committees and national sports federations tried to circumvent the rules.
During the Congress, the delegates - representing the I.O.C., the national Olympic committees, and the international federations will have to tackle the thorny problem presented by The People's Republic of China. Though there will be no formal debate on China's future place in world sport, the subject is likely to crop up when representatives of the Asian Games Organising Committee meet officials of the international federations.
China is not a member of the International Olympic movement, mainly because Taiwan is a member under the name of "Republic of China". The executives of the Asian Games Federation decided last month, however, to invite Athletes from The People's Republic of China. Their decision implied that sportsmen from Taiwan would not be invited. But observers in Varna believed that a majority of Sports Federations will insist that Taiwan be represented, otherwise will ban members from competing at the games.
Though the Congress will not be concerned in deciding venue of the 1980 Olympic Games, there will be considerable lobbying behind the scenes by countries interested in playing host to them. Because the Asian Games are to be held in Teheran in September next year, Iran is now said to provide a serious challenge to Moscow's hopes of staging the Games.
SYNOPSIS: The first Olympic Congress to be held since 1930 opened at Varna in Bulgaria on Sunday amidst the ceremonial trappings that have become associated with Olympic ventures After being opened by the new president of the International Olympic Committee, Lord Killanin, the delegatee began considering some of the controversial issues that face the Olympic movement. The President of the International Amateur Rowing Federation said the I.O.C. should redefine the conditions for competitors qualifying.
During the ceremony the speeches of most delegates had concentrated on words of welcome, and the remarks of the Rowing Federation's President produced something of a shock. He accused the I.O.C. of supporting the "victions" that the Olympic Games were "amateur", while everyone know that most national Olympic committees and sports federations tried to circumvent the rules. Undoubtedly the Congress will spend a lot of time discussing whether the "amateur" qualification should remain.
Though the Congress will not be making a decision on the venue for the 1980 Olympic Games, there will be considerable lobbying behind the scenes by countries wishing to play host them. Russia is keen to have them in Moscow, and Iran would like them held in Teheran