Cricket, like football, tennis and golf should not be at the Olympics

So, now we are going to have cricket at the Olympics. Another example that nothing drives and inspires the International Olympic Commission quite like money does. Cricket at the Olympics is entirely unnecessary, except the IOC has its greedy eyes on bolstering broadcast revenue in India.

Apparently, Indian broadcasters paid around $US20 million for the right to show next year’s event in Paris. By throwing in a few 20-20 games in Los Angeles in 2028, it could be 10 times that number.

But it’s not just cricket that shouldn’t be at the Olympics. The beauty of the Olympics traditionally was the exposure given to sports that we didn’t really care about for the other three years and 50 weeks between Games.

For a couple of weeks we become experts in archery or dressage or showjumping. This was the highpoint of these athletes sporting lives. The Olympics was the pinnacle and many had spent years in obscurity, and sometimes poverty, to reach this point.

You could even throw sports such as athletics, cycling, swimming and rowing into this category. These are sports for which the Olympics is the high-point of achievement.

Can anyone seriously make that claim about cricket? Or men’s football, tennis, golf, rugby? None of them should be in the Olympics. For none of these sports does an Olympic medal represent the peak of achievement. And that should be the rule-of-thumb that should be applied before any sport is allowed in the Olympics.

Men’s football is an under-age competition. Football has its World Cup, it has its European Championship, Copa America and African Cup of Nations. It doesn’t need the Olympics.

Rugby is not even a proper version of the game. It’s a seven-a-side version. Golf is ridiculous. As Tiger Woods once said: “It would be great to have an Olympic gold medal, but if you asked any player, `Would you rather have an Olympic gold medal or green jacket or Claret Jug (given to the British Open champion)?’ more players would say the majors.”

At next year’s Paris Olympics, there are 45 sports listed on the IOC website.

The first of the modern Olympics in Athens, in 1896, comprised nine sports, (gymnastics, athletics, cycling, fencing, shooting, swimming, tennis, weightlifting and greco-roman wrestling). There were 17 by the time of the Melbourne Games in 1956, 21 in Los Angeles in 1984 and 28 in Sydney in 2000.

Money is the only reason most of those sports are there. No doubt broadcasters and sponsors love them, but surely it’s taking away from that much-vaunted Olympic spirit they like to bang on about. And takes away attention from all those athletes who toil away unnoticed in all the years between Games.