Statement from USA Shooting on ISSF Recommended Sport Changes
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (February 23, 2016)
Please attribute the following statement to David Johnson, Interim CEO of USA Shooting:
Since November 2015, USA Shooting has been forced to deal with the harsh reality that the Olympic shooting program would change based on requirements put forth by the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC’s) Agenda 2020. The subsequent interpretation of those requirements by the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF), the international governing body for Olympic-style shooting, has led to today’s requested proposal put forth by the ISSF to remove Men’s Prone Rifle, Men’s Double Trap and Men’s Free Pistol events while adding mixed team events in Trap, Air Pistol and Air Rifle.
USA Shooting has opposed these decisions from the very beginning, particularly when considering Team USA’s success in those events at a world level. However, we maintain that all Olympic sports need to review, change and adapt their event program to fulfill the changing needs of sport participation, television viewership and spectator influence.
USA Shooting reiterated our position against these recommended changes to ISSF leadership on many occasions throughout the review process that began back in November 2015. USA Shooting leadership has been involved at the ISSF-committee level, as well when recommendations and input were sought. USA Shooting put forth recommendations for both a Mixed Sport Pistol event, and a Mixed Prone Team event as well as supporting Double Trap program changes brought forth by several countries. USA Shooting was not involved in a public and/or general assembly vote as some media reports have suggested. The program changes were decided upon by an ISSF Ad Hoc Committee and approved by the ISSF Executive Committee and Administrative Council earlier today.
It is important to note that the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) has in no way directed these Olympic shooting program changes. The IOC did set in motion certain program requirements as part of Agenda 2020, but placed the responsibility for meeting those requirements at the discretion of each International Federation (IF) as to how to implement changes in their own Olympic program. The USOC has no influence and/or input on the Olympic program; those are IF and IOC decisions.
While the elimination of Prone Rifle, Double Trap and Free Pistol is a big loss to many avid shooters in the sport, we are grateful that 15 Olympic events still do exist. USA Shooting remains committed to its mission of winning Olympic and Paralympic medals and will work diligently to prepare our athletes accordingly to compete and be successful in the new added disciplines. USA Shooting is well-positioned to try and meet the competitive challenges brought on by this decision.