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Background - Upcoming Olympic Announcement

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  • Background - Upcoming Olympic Announcement


    Date: Mon, 1 Apr 2002 05:19:39 -0800
    From: "Roger Johnson" <[email protected]>
    Subject: Background - Upcoming Olympic Announcement

    I want to provide some of the background behind the
    upcoming International Olympic Committee announce-
    ment regarding the inclusion of Autocross as an
    "Olympic Demonstration Sport" in Athens 2004.

    The IOC official announcement was due today, but will
    likely be delayed due to Easter, the April 1st holiday
    and Passover. In any case, as my resignation from
    the ad hoc committee that worked to this end is effective
    today, I am at liberty to confirm what has been whispered
    and rumored among the solo community for some time
    now. Most important is that each of you not be fooled
    by what will appear to be the fulfillment of a widely-held
    dream - there is far more to this than first meets the eye.

    And if you can see thru this process, now is *not* the time
    for public proclamations. Much better to let the news
    sink in for a while to allow the true believers to have
    their day.

    So while this 'demonstration' status for 2004 and 2008
    are big steps that we are very proud of, it is due to the
    machinations and unreasonableness of one of the member
    countries (Finland) that we aren't further along - in fact
    far more is _undecided_ regarding the competition than
    what has been agreed on.

    This effort started some time ago - prior to the Atlanta
    Summer Games, in fact - when SCCA coined our Solo
    II Nationals week of competition the "Solo Olympics".
    Some of the trophies that year were medals with ribbons,
    etc. The US committee preparing for the Atlanta games
    was headed by a friend of Nick Craw, Peter Ubberoth. He gently
    reminded Nick that the work "Olympics" was not in the
    public domain, and asked that we not use that phrase
    to denote SCCA events. This discussion between
    Nick and Peter went further, and ultimately led to the formation
    of the committee that has successfully petitioned the IOC to
    include our sport. And if we can get past the incredible
    politics that have impeded progress, we should be a full
    Olympic sport in 2012!

    Each country that had an existing gymkhana/time trial/autocross
    program was invited to select a member to serve on the committee.
    Great Britian, Germany, Canada, Japan, Thailand and the Netherlands
    were the first to elect representatives with our 'friend' from Finland
    coming later, in spite of the fact that there is evidence of only TWO
    events held in that nation, with less than 20 entries at each!
    (Yet this fool is an autocross expert. Geez.)

    But you can be assured that world-wide, this sport is poised on the
    edge of explosive growth as other countries, especially in South
    America, rush to develop programs to catch what clearly has to be
    a huge U.S. and Canadian advantage.

    As I mentioned, what *has* been decided is far smaller that the
    list of items that have not. The rough outline of the decided items
    include the site for the competition, which is a relatively small parking
    lot at the Hellinikon Olympic Complex (HOSC) south of Athens. Given
    that this is the olympic hockey center, it will get little use for these
    summer games and the lot is ours for the necessary week.

    There will be 6 members on each National team, with 6 alternates.
    There are to be 6 vehicle types represented: saloon car, 2 seat sports
    car, open wheel (FF2000 seems to be the choice here) etc. For the
    most part, our committee favored a same-car event, i.e., the drivers from
    each country selected to drive say the formula car would all drive the same
    car. Each driver gets two runs in that car each day, Monday August 23
    thru Friday the 27th, with their best run from each day accumulating
    to an aggregate total for the team championship and the individual gold
    in that vehicle.
    The order in which drivers compete in that car will rotate - for instance
    if you are the first driver Monday you would be the 3rd, 5th, 7th, and
    9th on the succeeding days (depending on the number of countries
    competing, of course). And as the sport gets more successful, it may
    be necessary to prepare more than one car (like IROC) in each
    category to accomodate increasing numbers of national teams.

    It is in the area of teams that the first obstacles have been presented. In
    spite of parallel women's teams in almost all Olympic sports, the Japa-
    nese representative Shashimi Wantanabe and the Thai, Mei Upp have
    strenuously resisted the inclusion of Women's classes even in the demon-
    stration phase, as there is *zero* female participation in their countries.
    And more, as the kinds of events run in the Japanese version of the sport
    are VERY different than the event courses in North America.

    Further politics have included the Canadian insistence on a class similar
    to SCCA's A Modified, with competitor supplied and driven vehicles.
    Gee, given the potential for dominance from the Milligan/Cheng car,
    is it any surprise that the Canadian rep (Rae McAlan) has dug his heels
    in on this one?

    So of course, not to be outdone, I have insisted on a Viper/Z06 type
    vehicle in the mix. And the German rep (Essen Scheist) and the Dutch
    rep (Ibea Dyke) have joined forces to demand Porsche 911-type vehicles.
    Then the Japanese and English combine to insist that at least two
    of the 6 vehicles be right hand drive. (It is my guess that the new Mini
    will most certainly be included.)

    The resolution of these vehicle issues will most certainly, ultimately, be
    money: which of the world's manufacturers will step up to provide the
    millions that the IOC will demand of the Official Supplier of Cars?
    (and tires, shocks, plugs, etc. etc. etc.) Certainly the serious among
    us will then be purchasing those vehicles, to gain as much seat time
    as possible . . . . . .

    I am sure that all of the above issues can be resolved, but it is going to
    take a drastic change in the make-up of the organizing committee - the
    reason for my resignation and also that of the French and UK reps is
    the Finn on the committee, Loof Lirpa. I can say with no fear of
    argument that this guy is a total fool, and his obstructionistic tactics
    on everything from vehicles to venue to visas has delayed
    immeasureably the forthcoming announcement. This should have been
    done last fall, and here it is April 1st already. Valuable time has been
    lost as the incredible amount of planning and detail necessary to stage
    this event in a mere 16 months is staggering.

    He has further insisted that at least one of the vehicles be of the
    European forest-rally type, with competition indoors on the hockey
    ice! And while constantly decrying the potential inclusion of the
    NASCAR or Indy-Car drivers from the U.S. as professionals, Mr.
    Loof Lirpa insists that Finnish rally drivers are amateurs! Incredible.

    So I urge you again not to be fooled: not by the spin the press puts on
    this, nor the biased nationalistic reports that are inevitable, and surely
    not by the coming endless rounds of individual viewpoints that will
    soon overwhelm the electronic lists.

    It is up to the ASN (FIA affiliate) in each participating country to
    determine the selection processes for it's team, and if competiton
    at this level is of interest to you please stay tuned (and update
    your passports)!

    Roger (O) Johnson

    419 435-9169 (h/o)
    419 944-7958 (c)
    800 422-1682 x89525 (vm)


  • #2
    Shouldn't april fools posts be in the off topic section?

    funny post though...

    I almost forgot that april fools ends at 12 noon so you posted too late

    [ April 01, 2002: Message edited by: Don Bourne ]</p>