SNOWSHOE MAGAZINE FEATURED ARTICLE:

A Winter Olympic Sport in the Making

Biathlon, bobsleigh, curling, ice hockey, luge, skating and skiing…simple fact…snowshoeing has yet to join the Olympics as a winter sport.

However, the summer Olympics hosts more than two-dozen different sports and into the hundreds of events. The reasons why snowshoeing has yet to be recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as a winter sport are numerous, but the way to make it a reality surrounds one central idea: Snowshoers need to unite, worldwide.

Now that the summer games are in full swing, I believe it’s time to begin thinking about snowshoeing as a recognized sport in the Winter Olympics throughout the coming decades. What needs to be done to have snowshoeing as a competitive sport in the games? What does the IOC expect from a new sport? How do we meet the requirements? Are there demonstration races planned for upcoming Olympic games?

It’s certainly something to ponder. I know plenty of snowshoers in the world that would be ecstatic about competing in the Olympics. And, sure, the Snowshoemag.com team would love it too (the games are big business). But, it’s more than just individualized benefits and the magazine’s further success. The sport of snowshoeing being recognized at the Olympic level would provide the manufacturers with the recognition they deserve – from the large to the very small. It would allow the competitions, the decorated snowshoe athletes, and the governing bodies that represent the sport to grow in popularity.

Before we all start seeing medals swinging before our eyes, we (the industry) have to remain focused on the demonstration races that must take place at future winter games. The IOC needs to know: Snowshoeing is a sport that’s growing and it would behoove them to accept it as soon as possible.

“Though there is still a chance of a major international snowshoe competition occurring in Turin, Italy – at least two weeks prior to the opening of the 2006 Winter Olympics – this event would not be sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee,” said Mark Elmore, sports director with the USSSA. “In terms of Olympic inclusion as a ‘demonstration sport,’ our focus must now shift to the 2010 Games in Western Canada. Working closely with the Canadian Snowshoe Union, we are hopeful that we’ll be successful in encouraging the local Olympic Organizing Committee, and the IOC, to allow a snowshoe demonstration event to take place then.”

Currently, snowshoeing is recognized by the Special Olympics on a global level and recognized by the Michigan Senior Olympics as well. In my view, the sport of snowshoeing is long overdue for this kind of worldwide acceptance. And, because the Olympics are slow moving in terms of progress, the fight to make this happen will be grueling. But, it’s all worth it. In the meantime, the industry must remain steadfast to its heritage, it’s grassroots following and the competitions it organizes. Success is at hand.

“With the popularity of the Nike ACG U.S. National Snowshoe Championship Series continuing to grow here in the states…and other countries such as Finland, Italy, France, Andorra, Sweden, Canada and Japan energetically promoting the sport, the industry and consumers alike will see the snowshoeing expand and draw new participants from all over the globe,” said Elmore.

Think of it this way:

Peace is possible through snowshoeing. Economical progress is achievable when people choose snowshoes instead of Krispy Kreme donuts. A change of mind and heart is feasible when communities join together to choose snowshoeing instead of stagnation. Snowshoeing allows families to spend time together, snowshoeing promotes a healthy lifestyle, snowshoeing is a cost-effective winter sport…snowshoeing is the answer.

(As I step down from the soapbox.)

I feel better.

Enjoy the new Snowshoe Magazine Web site, let me know what you think of it and if you find a problem (or mistake), bring it to our attention. We’ve worked hard to make this work for you, our fellow snowshoers.

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