The Road Towards Becoming an Olympic Sport
The association of the Friends of Olive Trees is dedicated to its cause of promoting the Olive Pit Spitting Competition of the Chafa´ variety of olives from Cieza as an Olympic sport. The executive committee of the association and the International Olympic Committee (COI) have made their initial contact and have showed their determination to initiate the procedures to establish the creation of the International Federation of Olive Pit Spitting (IFOPS). This will be the first step for the competition to be included as an official sport in the Olympic Games.
In May 2007 the association sent a letter to The President of the COI, Jacques Rogge in which a strong case was presented for the Competition to be included as an exhibition sport in the Beijing Olympic Games 2008. The following arguments were presented: The antiquity of this practice, which is dated back to Stone Age. The Internationalization of the competition: celebrations abroad, participation of foreign athletes. The competition is the only sport that does not discriminate in terms of gender, race, nationality, ideology, age; it is also environmentally friendly and free of charge. The very philosophy of the competition matches the principles of the Olympic Spirit.
A letter of response soon arrived on the 21rst August. Christophe Dubi, the sports COI director advised the association on the steps to follow in order to make its dream come true. “We would like to inform you that only the International federation governing a sport can request inclusion in the Olympic Games”.
In order to establish the IFOPS a long burocratic procedure has began. The Federation of Olive Pit Spitting Competition of the region of Murcia (FOPSCRM) will soon also become an entity. Athletes from other regions of Spain in which the sport is becoming popular such as Navarra, Catalunya, Valencian Community, Madrid, Castilla La Mancha, Andalucia and Extremadura have also began the burocratic procedures to create their own regional federations. In the end they will all become one Spanish Federation.
COI advised that, to create IFOPS al least three different countries would need to create national federations of Olive Pitt Spitting. José María Martínez, the president of the Association of the friends of the olive trees explained that: “French enthusiasts and the people of Cieza are already preparing the documentation necessary to create the federations.”
Olympic support in Beijing
Despite the Fact that the olive spitting athletes were not allowed to parade in Beijing in the Bird’s Nest, a small delegation from the association traveled to China. Juanma Molina and Benjamin Sanchez played a part in the Olympic Games and took advantage of the international media coverage to organize a competition there to support the cause.
Prominent personalities from the sports world such as Fernando Romay, the Spanish basket ball player as well as members of the Olympic Spanish team of judo and rhythmic gymnastics showed their full support towards the Ciezan Olympic dream hosted in the House of Spain in Beijing. Important representatives such as the president of the Spanish cycling association and Spanish sports journalists were truly enthusiastic.
Martin Fiz, world champion marathon runner and winner of the Prince on Asturias Prize for sports was one of the most faithful participants of the competition organized by the association in central Beijing.
The association will now attempt to include the Olive Pit Spitting Competition in the London Olympic Games in 2012. Nevertheless, the possibility of Madrid hosting the Olympic Games in 2016 seems to be the ideal occasion to show the world this new sport which originated in Spain. Pelota Basca (Basque country Ball) was the exhibition sport in Barcelona 1992, so why couldn’t the Olive Pitt Spitting Competition be the new sport in Madrid 2016?
Letter from the COI for the Association of Friends Oliveras