Kiwi farmers want sheep shearing in Olympics

Tue, Jan 17
sheep shearing
AP Photo/Alf Ove HansenMove over Michael Phelps. ...
We've found a new Olympic hero.

WELLINGTON , New Zealand -- A New Zealand farm lobby group says sheep shearing has the potential to become an Olympic demonstration sport. Just don't count on seeing it at London next summer or Rio in 2016.

The "time has come to elevate shearing's sporting status to the ultimate world stage," the New Zealand Federated Farmers said in a statement Monday, adding that the world's top shearers are "athletes who take it to another level."

While shearing is a sport, its chances of becoming an Olympic event -- even a demonstration one -- are slim.

The Olympic sports program is decided a minimum of six years in advance of a scheduled games through a complicated process that includes strict criteria including global participation by male and female athletes. For example, baseball and softball were cut from the Olympic program for 2012 and 2016 because they aren't played in enough countries.

New Zealand produces some of the world's best shearers and its national championship, the Golden Shears, receives substantial media coverage in the country. Other shearing countries include Ireland and Australia.

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