International Olympic Committee leaders met on Thursday to decide which two sports to recommend for inclusion in the 2016 Summer Games.
The IOC executive board was considering a list of seven sports: baseball, golf, karate, roller sports, rugby, softball and squash.
The 15-member board was scheduled to vote by secret ballot to cut the field to two sports, which will be submitted for ratification by the full 106-member IOC assembly in Copenhagen in October.
Golf and rugby sevens - a faster version of the more established 15-a-side game - were considered the favourites, but IOC members said there was no overwhelming consensus going into the meeting and anything was possible. Softball appeared to have the best outside shot at making the cut.
“We hope to be able to make a unanimous decision, but it will be hard to find a common denominator,” executive board member Gerhard Heiberg said.
The board planned to vote over several rounds, with the sport receiving the fewest votes eliminated each time until two winners emerged.
The board was also considering a series of proposals for the 2012 London Olympics, including the addition of women’s boxing, mixed doubles in tennis and more 50-metre events in swimming. Boxing is the only summer Olympic sport without female competitors.
Leaders of the seven sports bidding for 2016 inclusion made presentations to the IOC board in June in Lausanne, Switzerland, and have continued to lobby extensively. The attributes of each bidding sport were contained in a report by the IOC program commission which was being reviewed by the board on Thursday before the vote.
Golf was played at the 1900 Paris Olympics and 1904 St. Louis Games. The sport’s backers say bringing the game back into the Olympics would help it develop worldwide, noting many governments only fund Olympic sports.