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|August 17, 2000||
Norman calls for Olympics golfLarry Fine in Louisville, Kentucky
Greg Norman says carrying the Olympic torch ahead of the opening of the Sydney Games will be one of his greatest sports thrills, but the fact that golf is not on the Olympic schedule is a bitter disappointment.
"I think out of all the things I have ever experienced in sport, this would probably be in my top two ever," said Norman, listing his two British Open triumphs as the other top highlights. "It is a great honor because I am a non-Olympian.
"And it is on the morning of the opening ceremony, so there is going to be a lot of atmosphere and hype -- Australia is very up about it right now.
"It's a huge honor to be able to say you did that for the 2000 Olympics in Australia."
Norman, who has made a speedy recovery from hip surgery seven weeks ago to compete in this week's PGA Championship, expects a spectacular Olympic show in Sydney but decries the absence of golf.
"I think golf should be in the Olympics. I think it's a crying shame that it is not," said Norman. "If we look at the demographics of golf on a global basis, it far exceeds a lot of the demographics of other Olympic sports on a global basis.
"For tennis to be there and not golf, I don't understand that. For basketball to be there and not golf, I don't understand that. I am not decrying the other sports. I just think golf is not getting a fair shake of the stick."
The former world number one said he plans to watch compatriot Pat Rafter play tennis, catch some gymnastics, see Michael Johnson run and spend time at the pool to cheer on the powerhouse Australian swim team. But he wishes his own game was on display at the Games in September.
Norman said the various elements of world golf, including the Royal & Ancient, the U.S. Golf Association, the PGA of America, the PGA Tour and the players, should marshal their efforts to win a place in the Olympics.
"I think it's time to take off the blinders and just see how popular the game of golf really is on a global basis. It deserves to be in there," he said.
"If we all get together and we all coordinate this, an overwhelming concerted effort to the IOC (International Olympic Committee) would be pretty hard to turn down."
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