Skateboarder and surfers are practically celebrating their common big victory – the International Olympic Committee is planning to add these sports to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. If the decision is approved, it will be the “most comprehensive evolution” of the Olympic program in modern history.
Besides skateboarding and surfing, the International Olympic Committee is considering the inclusion of karate, sports climbing and baseball/softball in the Olympic Games because these activities do “represent a combination of well-established and emerging sports with significant popularity in Japan and beyond.” The Committee underlined that the package “promotes gender equality… while also focusing on innovative and exciting sports for Japan and the wider international community.”
The possible addition of baseball and softball was called “the biggest and most exciting international competition in the history of our sport” by Riccardo Fraccari, president of the World Baseball Softball Confederation.
The announcement of possible addition of five sports made by the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee last year caused a great excitement among sportsmen. Legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk commented: “This is not only a great opportunity for our sport and the skaters, but also for the Games. It is now more important than ever to preserve the unique culture of skateboarding which makes our sport so appealing and relevant.”
The International Olympic Committee conducted an unanimous voting but the proposal still needs an approval of the committee’s August session in Rio de Janeiro.
The news from the Olympic Committee caused excitement at multiple sports organization including the International Surfing Association. “This is a wonderful moment for our sport and for the global surfing family,” ISA President Fernando Aguerre said in a statement. “Surfing has incredible youth appeal and a unique culture that would offer huge value to the Olympic movement.”
The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games will host additional 18 events and 474 athletes if the proposal to add five more sports finds final approval. Skateboarding will feature two street and two park events, each with 20 male and 20 female competitors. Surfing will include two shortboard contests, each with 20 male and 20 female athletes. As for karate, it will feature male and female events for kata as well as kumite. Sports climbing will also include male and female competitions in two separate events — bouldering and lead and speed combined.
The decision to add the five sports will not influence the current quota of sports at the Olympics and future Games will not necessarily have to include the same five sports.
“Discussions on the event programme in the existing 28 Olympic sports for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 are ongoing, and will be finalised by the IOC executive board in mid-2017,” said the statement of the International Olympic Committee.