IOC moves to delay vote on reducing sports until '05

MEXICO CITY -- Baseball, softball and modern pentathlon are staying in the Olympics, likely ruling out the chances of golf being added for the 2008 Beijing Games.

Three months after an Olympic panel proposed dropping the three sports for Beijing, the IOC decided Friday to put off any vote until after the 2004 Athens Games.

The decision sharply reduces the chances the sports will be dropped from Beijing's schedule, because of the short amount of notice.

"If a sport were to go off, there's a good chance golf would go
on,'' David Fay, executive director of the U.S. Golf Association,
said Tuesday before the vote.

Fay and Royal & Ancient secretary Peter Dawson are joint leaders
of the World Amateur Golf Council, which the IOC recognizes as the
official golf federation.

A simple majority is needed to eliminate a sport, and Fay was
relieved to learn Tuesday that a vote was still on the table.

IOC president Jacques Rogge said he has a legal opinion to
proceed with the vote after concerns were raised about whether the
Olympic Charter prohibits any changes to the program less than
seven years to Olympics.

"A couple of days ago, I would have said it looked bleak
because it sounded like they were trying to stop any discussion,''
Fay said. "Whether a sport is dropped or not, I don't know. But
for golf's sake, that was an encouraging sign.''