The United States Olympic Committee has rejected the application by USCF to become an affiliated sports organization, saying it was not convinced that chess meets its definition of "sport."  The decision is surprising because the International Olympic Committee has recognized FIDE, and creates the possibility that the IOC could add chess to the Olympics without the United States being able to participate.

Also probably affected by this rejection is the issue of drug testing.  FIDE has been indicating that testing was likely to soon be required for events that are preliminaries to the World Championship, the Chess Olympiad, and/or the Olympic Games, with the resulting benefit to chess being admission to the latter.  But if the United States cannot send a chess team to the Olympic Games, this is a new and powerful argument against drug testing at any US tournaments (though the existing arguments were more than sufficient, in my opinion). 

Subj: RE: FIDE Adv Committee Final Report on Drug Testing
Date: 10/15/2001 5:46:08 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: (George De Feis)
To: (''),,,,,,
CC:,,,, (George De Feis), (''), ('')

The USOC Membership & Credentials Commitee has not approved our application as an Affiliated Sports Organization.  The sole reason was given as failure to show that USCF governs a "sport" -- the committee was not convinced that chess meets its definition of "sport."  (Frankly, I felt that the question of chess being a "sport" would have been faced by FIDE, when it applied for [and received] approval from the IOC [International Olympics Committee] as an International Sports Federation.  Now, it appears, that chess could be recognized in some countries and not in others, so that if there ever is a chess competition in the Olympics, some will be approved to play, and others will not.)
I appeared at their meeting with GM Joel Benjamin and GM Maurice Ashley, and we all felt that we had addressed every question well, and frankly, that we would receive approval.
The USOC did indicate that the membership classifications for USOC are undergoing review and possibly a new classification will be created that would be more suitable for our organization.
George homepage