The 2020 Olympic Games' New Sports Might Just Include These Five Incredible Contenders
Five unconventional sports may finally get the limelight at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The game's organizing committee announced Monday that its members are considering adding these five sports to the 2020 Olympic Games: karate, sports climbing, baseball/softball, surfing and skateboarding. While these sports are respected and highly popular around the world, all but baseball and softball have been left out of the Summer Olympics; baseball and softball were previously included in the Olympics between 1992 and 2008.
The inclusions of these five sports will bring a total of 18 new events to the 2020 Olympic Games, the Tokyo organizing committee said in a statement. Karate will have the most events, with eight proposed by the committee. Surfing and sports climbing will each have two events, while baseball/softball will have an event for each sport. Skateboarding will have four events, divided into "street" and "park" styles.
The organizing committee said in its statement that these five sports represent the "traditional and emerging, youth-focused events" popular both in Japan and worldwide. These fives sports already have a built-in audience, and appeal to a much-needed younger demographic, according to the committee.
"We firmly believe that by connecting with youth, bringing to life Olympic Agenda 2020 and the Tokyo 2020 vision, our proposal constitutes the best possible package that will add the most value to the Games," Fujio Mitarai, chair of the Additional Event Program Panel, said in a statement.
In a statement, Fernando Aguerre, president of the International Surfing Association, praised the Tokyo Olympics organization committee's decision to include surfing, which he believes has just the right amount of "cool" to attract viewers:
Surfing has incredible and growing global appeal, particularly amongst young people, and we believe that the dynamic energy of the sport and its fan base around the world would bring many benefits for Tokyo 2020 and the Games. Surfing embodies a cool, playful lifestyle that would add a completely new element to the program, helping the Games reach new fans through live action and stunning broadcast opportunities.
According to the IOC, 26 internationally recognized sports federations applied for consideration to be in the 2020 Summer Olympics. So, which sports didn't make the cut? Bowling, roller sports (such as roller blading) and squash were left out to dry this time around.
World Squash Federation president Narayana Ramachandran said in a statement that he was "devastated" about the Olympic committee's decision to leave squash out of the games. Squash has long been recognized by the IOC, but has yet to be considered for the Olympics.
"After our 12-year journey to join the Olympic Games program ... I am utterly devastated on behalf of our great sport that our dream of taking part in the Tokyo Games cannot now be realized," Ramachandran said. "I know I speak on behalf of the millions of Squash players around the world for whom the opportunity of seeing their sport participate in the Olympics has been an absolute priority — and, like me, they will be heartbroken."
The International Olympic Committee said it will make its final decision about these five potential new Olympic sports in August 2016.