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New sports at 2020 Olympics


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I'm not particularly excited about the proposals in general. There are too many events and few athletes, so all of them would be very scaled-down competitions.

Baseball/Softball: It was (and still is, I believe) the favourite to be included. It's popular in Japan and it could get very good TV audiences in some countries. But there's one big disadvantage: only 6 teams are not enough for an Olympic tournament. Taking into consideration that continental representation has an important role in Olympic qualification and that baseball should not be treated differently, the teams competing in Tokyo could be Japan, the United States, the Netherlands, Chinese Taipei, South Africa and Australia. There's no real competition here. Of all the American and Asian teams that could fight for the medals, only two might be able to qualify.

Karate: Although there are already two martial arts and some more fight sports in the Olympic programme, karate is popular enough in Japan and all around the world to be included. Again, the problem I see is the number of events and athletes. There would only be 10 competitors in each event! Also, only 3 weight classes per gender are very few, especially when compared to the 7 judo and 4 taekwondo classes.

Skateboard: It's youth-appealing and totally different from any other sport in the Olympic programme. The athlete quotas proposed make it look similar to BMX, so it's not bad. I would have liked it to be called "roller sports" and also include some inline skating though.

Sports climbing: Sure climbing is a well-known activity, but I don't know how many people see it as a competition sport. Personally, I have no idea about how it works. I've read many people arguing that combining the three disciplines is not a good idea. I think it's not a bad solution taking into account the limited number of athletes, but I agree it's strange if it's not usually done like that.

Surfing: Not a sport that every host could hold, I think. Sailing can already pose problems and it usually takes place away from the host city, but surfing may be even worse in that aspect... unless it's held in an artificial pool, although I doubt that's the ideal. Where is Tokyo planning to host surfing? As with climbing, I don't know much about surfing, so I don't know how an Olympic competition would be.

And the eternal doubt I still can't get solved: what would happen to these sports after Tokyo? Would they need to bid every four years in order to be included in each Olympics?

Of the five proposed sports, I'd include skateboarding and perhaps karate. Anyway, regardless of the sports included, if they're here to stay, the number of events and athletes needs to be increased.

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No surf pools in the Olympics, says Tokyo 2020 Tokyo 2020 wants the surfing competition to take place in natural waves. Artificial waves are ruled out, at least until 2024.

Organizers of the Olympic Games have told the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that if the sport of surfing gets its debut in Japan, then wave riders must compete for medals in their natural environment, i.e., the ocean.

The International Surfing Association (ISA) has been using surf pools as a trump card into the Olympics, but the investment needed to build a surf lagoon, and the recent problems in the young technology might have frightened the Tokyo 2020 team.

"The new wave pool technology remains very much on the surfing agenda and the next generation of wave parks are on their way. It is great to know that surfing is developing and growing on so many different fronts," underlines Fernando Aguerre.

"We are delighted that surfing will take place on natural waves if it is admitted to the Tokyo 2020 Sports Programme. Surfing is hugely popular in Japan and the country has hosted many national and international competitions in a number of beautiful ocean locations. There are some great and thriving beach-based Surfing hotspots to choose from which would be ideal for Olympic surfing."

The ISA wants to "create an amazing beach party atmosphere providing unforgettable memories for athletes, spectators, broadcasters and fans around the world."


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Expectations "very high" for 3x3 basketball's inclusion on Tokyo 2020 programme, says FIBA director

Expectations of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) over the inclusion of 3x3 basketball on the Tokyo 2020 sports programme are "very high", the governing body’s media and marketing director Frank Leenders has told insidethegames here at SPORTELAsia today.

A 3x3 basketball competition, in which only one basket is used for both teams, was first held at the inaugural Summer Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010 and also featured at last year's inaugural European Games in Baku.

As it is a new discipline rather than a new sport, the process for 3x3's Tokyo 2020 inclusion has not yet begun.

There is a growing lobby of support, however, from within the basketball community and the International Olympic Committee.

Some even believe that it could one day replace its five-a-side cousin on the programme, although there appears no immediate chance of this happening.

The final decision on its Tokyo 2020 inclusion is likely to be discussed following this year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

"It’s in the Youth Olympic Games and I think it’s a public secret that the objective, if not the expectation, would be to see it in Tokyo 2020," Leenders said.

"We have to go through a process but I think the expectations from FIBA are very high.

"It’s an excellent way to give not only players, but also countries to participate for the medals in basketball.

"If you look at 5x5, traditionally it’s quite a restricted group of countries that can get medals.

"In 3x3, we’ve already seen that it’s a very different sport.

"It’s much more universal, it’s played with a slightly smaller ball - size six - and it’s not so much about the height.

"It would be great to have a completely new country winning Olympic medals."



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Surfing events at Tokyo 2020 to be held at start of Olympics in bid to address wave level concerns

Surfing events at Tokyo 2020 will be held at the beginning of the Games should it win its bid for Olympic inclusion due to uncertainty over the level of waves in the Japanese ocean, the head of the sport’s world governing body Fernando Aguerre revealed here.

Competitions in both the ocean and using artificial waves were put forward by the International Surfing Association (ISA) in their proposal to become a part of the Olympic programme for the Games in four years’ time.

It was understood Argentinian Aguerre, ISA President since 1994, preferred the use of man-made waves generated by facilities such as the one opened in Snowdonia in Wales in August of last year.

Aguerre indicated to insidethegames in July how this was the more favourable option due to fears over the size of ocean waves in summer months.

Concerns have emerged, though, over the likely cost of a wave pool.

the technology involved is thought to be relatively cheap but costs to rent the land on which it would be built would be far more expensive.

The ISA head also admitted the artificial structures “had not been around long enough to fully understand” and claimed they were “excited” about holding surfing events in the ocean.

An exact site for surfing competitions should the International Olympic Committee (IOC) include the sport at Tokyo 2020 has not yet been set but the world governing body claim to have conducted extensive research to find a suitable location.

There are several surfing hotspots within reach of Tokyo, in locations such as Chiba, Kanagawa and Izu, but the ISA refused to confirm where their sport would take place.

Between late August and October is considered the best time of year to surf in Japan, with more volatile but potentially strong waves between December and March.

The fact that contingency plans are already being put in place if the required level of waves fail to materialise confirms the ISA are wary of the issue but Aguerre remains confident it will not be a problem.

“Most likely it will be staged at the front end of the Games so if the waves don’t happen we can just push it back and have it at the right time,” Aguerre said at the SportAccord Convention here.

“We believe in man-made waves and we believe they are the future but they haven’t been around long enough to fully understand.

“The IOC and Tokyo 2020 want things that are certain and the ocean is certain.

“We have done 10 years of research on wave duration and tides and we don’t know exactly where it will take place but we will look at venues that are in a good position for the predominant swirl directions.”

Aguerre also claimed the IOC were “happy” with what they saw when a small delegation from the organisation visited a surfing event in March of this year in Gold Coast to inspect how competitions in the sport are run.

The potential inclusion of surfing, along with baseball softball, skateboarding, sport climbing and karate, will be discussed at the IOC Executive Board meeting from June 1 to 3.

They are expected to make a formal recommendation for approval at the Session ahead of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.


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IOC set out process to choose new events within existing sports at Tokyo 2020

A final decision on new events being added to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic programme from within existing sports is set to be taken in June 2017.

Discussions have already begun between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and individual International Federations, IOC sports director Kit McConnell revealed here.

These talks are due to be “accelerated” following Rio 2016.

The IOC Executive Board on Wednesday (June 1) recommended baseball and softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing to be added to the programme at Tokyo 2020.

The decision is expected to be approved by the full IOC membership at its Session in Rio de Janeior between August 1 and 4.

Providing the proposal is accepted, it will mean 18 new events and 474 new athletes will be added to the programme in the Japanese capital.

This is likely to reduce the size of any increase in the number of athletes participating from within existing sports.

Various sports have already proposed mixed team events in order to introduce new and gender-equal competition but without the need for new participants.

A mixed relay in triathlon, mixed doubles in table tennis and a mixed team competition in archery are three such possibilities.

One potential new discipline could be basketball 3x3, an innovative shortened version of the sport which was first showcased at the inaugural Summer Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010.

If successful, 3x3 would likely appear alongside, rather than instead, of its five-a-side cousin.

Street and park freestyle events in BMX cycling have also been widely mooted, with it possible that a venue could be shared with the one for skateboarding.

International Cycling Union President Brian Cookson also wants to extend the track programme, with the individual pursuit and madison among events vying for a return after being dropped following Beijing 2008.

Two additional weight categories in women’s boxing are another possible option.


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IOC Releases Olympic Programme Commission Report on Proposed Sports

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) today released a report by its Olympic Programme Commission evaluating the proposal to include five new sports at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

The Organising Committee for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 proposed the five new sports — baseball/softball, karate, skateboard, sports climbing and surfing — in response to the new flexibility provided by Olympic Agenda 2020, the IOC’s strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement, to encourage innovation in the Olympic programme. 

The IOC Session will make the final decision on the five sports in Rio de Janeiro on 3 August. If approved, the change would be the most comprehensive evolution of the Olympic programme in modern history.

In its report to IOC members, the Olympic Programme Commission concluded that, taken together, the five sports are “a dynamic and exciting package” that “encompasses both traditional and emerging, youth-focused events, all of which are popular both in Japan and internationally.”   

The Commission considered a variety of factors in assessing the proposal, including the impact on gender equality, the youth appeal of the sports and the legacy value of adding them to the Tokyo Games. The inclusion of the new sports would add 18 events and 474 athletes, with equal numbers of women and men for all sports except baseball/softball, because softball teams have 15 players, whilst baseball teams have 24.

Adding the new sports in Tokyo would not impact existing Olympic sports or be binding on future host cities.

The decision on the sports package by the IOC Session will be the culmination of a two-year process that began with the unanimous approval of Olympic Agenda 2020 in 2014. The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee submitted its proposal for the five new sports to the IOC in September 2015. 

Following the Olympic Programme Commission’s analysis and review, the IOC Executive Board reviewed the proposal and submitted the full package to the IOC Session.

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.





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