The president of the International Judo Federation (IJF), Marius Vizer, has questioned Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) president Brian Cookson’s handling of the press after the UCI chief suggested moving judo and cycling to the Winter Olympics.
Cookson's comments came in an interview with the BBC, where the UCI president said that the Summer Olympics were “over-heated with too many facilities, too many sports [and] too many competitors” and many indoor sports—including track cycling—would be better served at the Winter Games.
But the IJF president threw Cookson’s idea out of the ring, sarcastically applauding the UCI boss on his sense of humour.
“I have always admired British humour and I can say now that certainly, the UCI president is not lacking it,” Vizer said.
Judo has been included in the Summer Olympic Games since the 1964 Games in Tokyo, Japan, and after not featuring in 1968, has featured at every Olympiad since.
The Romanian, Vizer, who has been IJF president since 2007, called Cookson’s understanding of the world sports movement into question and offered his services as sensei to the Englishman.
Speaking to the Press Association, Vizer said: “As new President of an International Federation, I wish Mr Cookson good luck and I am available anytime to support him in better understanding the world sports movement and in avoiding press communications at times when he actually does not have any message to transmit.”
Cookson’s comments regarding judo and cycling’s place in the Summer Olympic Games came as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) began their review of the Olympic programme.
He said: “If you have a problem with summer Olympics where the whole thing is perceived as over-heated with too many facilities, too many sports, too many competitors and so on, why not look at moving some of the other sports indoors that traditionally take place in the northern hemisphere winter?
“Let’s think about the Winter Olympics, why does it have to be snow and ice?
“Why not look at combat sports like judo, or other indoor sports like badminton? You could even say what about putting track cycling in the Winter Olympics?
“If we moved track cycling to the Winter Olympics and that allowed us to have more track cycling events and more medals, that could be a pretty good outcome.”