Just before the Rio Olympics commence on the 5th of August this year, the 129th International Olympic Committee (IOC) session will take place between 1st-4th of the same month. At this, we are expecting what the IOC itself described as the “most comprehensive evolution of the Olympic program in modern history” to take place, giving the opportunity to surfers and skateboarders of dreaming Olympic Dreams.
Five sports, among which surfing and skateboarding, are expected to be announced for their inclusion for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. The five – skateboarding, surfing, baseball/softball, sport climbing and karate – will be adding 18 events in total at the Olympic program, giving the chance to 474 athletes to claim an Olympic Qualification for Tokyo. It is important to clarify though, that these 474 athletes will not be depriving any Olympic Qualification from other athletes from the already Olympic sports categories.
The usual procedure for the inclusion of a new sport in the Olympic Program, requires a nine-years campaign before the addition of the sport to the Games, whereas the IOC makes the decision seven years before the Olympics.
Further rules state that future Olympic Games do not necessarily have to continue with the inclusion of the five sports that Tokyo, as the host city, has proposed to be added for 2020.
Several hurdles remain to be overlapped until the five sports are approved but all related International Federations and the IOC are positive. Hurdles include a clear planning of the Qualification procedures for each sport, whereas in some cases like surfing and skateboarding, special arrangements for new venues will need to be made for the needs of the sports to be met.
Tokyo has chosen these sports for the rapid and vast appeal they have among the youth, whereas the IOC adds that “They represent a combination of well-established and emerging sports with significant popularity in Japan and beyond”.
As extreme sports fans, we surely hope that we will start seeing more and more of these sports joining the Olympic Games, giving the chance to both athletes and fans to enjoy their sport among the world’s most anticipated sports event.