The International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) wants to stimulate women’s participation in shooting sports. A smart move, considering that women are the fastest growing demographic of gun owners in America.
What’s not so smart, however, is that the ISSF believes the best way to encourage women to participate is by removing men’s shooting events from the Olympics:
The ISSF Administrative Council, meeting in New Delhi, India last month, unanimously approved a plan to meet Olympic recommendations to stimulate women’s participation and involvement in sport by creating more participation opportunities at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.
The upside of the plan: create new Trap Mixed Gender Team, 10m Air Rifle Mixed Gender Team, and 10m Air Pistol Mixed Gender Team events.
The downside: to make room it would remove the current Men’s Double Trap, Men’s 50m Rifle Prone, and Men’s 50m Pistol events.
“We believe this is a fundamental step forward for our beloved sport,” ISSF President Olegario Vázquez Raña said in a statement from the group. “We fully support gender equality, and our Committees have worked very hard to develop a Tokyo 2020 proposal that will support the future growth of our sport.”
Vázquez Raña added, “Shooting is one of the oldest and most universal sports of the world; inclusion is part of our DNA.” Ironically, it’s two of the oldest events — the 50m Rifle Prone and 50m Pistol, which have been a part of the Olympics since 1912 and 1896 respectively — which are being cut in the name of “inclusion.”
USA Shooting, the national governing body for the sport of Olympic-style shooting in the U.S., made clear that it does not support the move:
“It is important to note that the U.S. Olympic Committee has in no way directed these Olympic shooting program changes,” said David Johnson, interim CEO of USA Shooting in a statement.
Five-time Olympian Peter Sidi was even harsher on the decision:
“This is like committing a suicide, prone is one of the most popular events in shooting and we are doing away with it. The father of modern Olympics (Baron Pierre de) Coubertin was a free pistol shooter, so we are also killing the spirit of Olympics, with no regard to history.”