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Editor’s note: Tom Ecker of Cedar Rapids is an Olympic historian.
RIO DE JANEIRO — There are many sports federations that have been trying to add their sports to the Olympic program, as has been the case for years.
Included among the many proposals have been bowling, bridge, chess and lifesaving. But the “sport” that has been submitted the most often is ballroom dancing. Yes, all you ballroom dancers out there, you might someday be in the Olympics.
Adding new sports to the Olympic program is not an easy task. I learned that back in the 1970s when I was a member of an international Olympic committee. Our purpose was to introduce a new Olympic sport — Sports Acrobatics — to be considered for inclusion in the 1980 Games in Moscow.
I was a member of the committee because my good friend, George Nissen, the inventor of the trampoline and a longtime Cedar Rapids resident, asked me to join him as the second American on the committee.
Although our committee members were from many countries, our chairman was from Moscow, which we thought would help our chances of getting Sports Acrobatics into the Moscow Olympics.
We had two meetings in Moscow, one in Warsaw, Poland, and we even hosted a meeting in Cedar Rapids in the spring of 1978. But, alas, the International Olympic Committee nixed the idea and our committee had to be dissolved.
Sports Acrobatics became as relevant in the Olympic movement as ballroom dancing.