No top athletes, no Olympic spot says IOC member

IOC Member Barry Maister speaks during the New Zealand Olympic Committee Annual General Meeting at Eden Park. Photo / Getty
IOC Member Barry Maister speaks during the New Zealand Olympic Committee Annual General Meeting at Eden Park. Photo / Getty

One of New Zealand's own International Olympic Committee members is calling out sports which are not fronting top athletes at the Rio Olympics.

Barry Maister, an Olympic gold medalist in 1976, told Tony Veitch on Newstalk ZB that sports such as golf risk losing their Olympic spot if they are not able to secure the best in their sport.

The statement comes off the back of numerous high-profile athletes such as basketballer LeBron James and golfer Rory McIllroy announcing they will skip the games for different reasons.

"I think it is appalling," Maister said. "I don't like it, and I don't think the sport should be allowed to continue in the games under that scenario."

Maister said the extremely tough process of becoming a part of the Olympic programme means sports are all passionately fighting for a position.

As such, Maister believes they have an obligation to prove themselves when they do get accepted.

"Once they've got in, they have got to deliver," he said.

"Just getting in with your name, and then putting up some second or third rate players, is so far from the Olympic ideal or the expectation of the Olympic movement.

"The Olympics is about the best, and they pledged the best.

"Quite frankly, any sport that cannot deliver its best athletes, in my view, should not be there."

Maister said the IOC will undertake an enormous review once the games are complete and sports like golf and basketball which have lost a number of high-profile athletes, will face rigid scrutiny.

Big factors in those decisions include the eligibility and the inclusion of top players.

- NZ Herald

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