In a bid to get more youths involved in the Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has supported a proposal to add five new sports for the 2020 Games in Tokyo. The proposal is part of a new initiative put in place by the Olympic Agenda 2020, which is the IOC’s plan for future Olympic games, allowing host cities to suggest new sports to be added in their edition of the Games.
The new sports that Tokyo proposed aren’t the typical competitions that come to mind when thinking of the Olympics: skateboarding, surfing, sport climbing, karate and baseball/softball will be joining the Games. Interestingly, as outlined by the Olympic Agenda 2020, if these sports are added for Tokyo, they are not binding for future host cities. In other words, skateboarding, surfing, sport climbing, karate and baseball/softball won’t necessarily be sports in whichever city hosts the 2024 Games.
If the proposal goes through, the five additional sports will add 18 events and 474 athletes — most of which appeal to younger generations. This is a big driver behind the IOC’s new Olympic development plans. The IOC’s press release purports that the proposed sports “offer a key focus on youth, which is at the heart of the Games’ vision for Tokyo 2020. They represent a combination of well-established and emerging sports with significant popularity in Japan and beyond.” The proposal still needs to be officially approved at the 129th IOC session in Rio de Janeiro in August, but the approval looks more than likely.