The International Olympic Committee has announced the new sports that will be part of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo in 2020. Some of the sports will make their debuts, while others will make their triumphant return.
Karate, skateboarding, rock climbing, and surfing will all make their Olympic debuts at the Tokyo Games, the committee announced today.
And just eight years after it banished baseball and softball from the Olympic games, the committee announced today that beginning in 2020, softball and baseball would once again become Olympic sports.
The Olympics often fall right in the middle of Major League Baseball season, as USA Today points out, but MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said the league was “excited” about baseball’s restoration as an Olympic sport and that the league would cut games to allow players to attend.
Baseball had been in the Olympics since 1992 before the committee nixed it and softball during the 2012 Olympics, replacing them with golf and rugby sevens, according to CBS Sports.
The Olympic Committee said in its announcement that the new sports would bring an increased focus on youth in the Olympics, which is part of the committee’s overall vision for the Tokyo games.
In the past, the IOC introduced BMX riding to the Beijing Games and snowboarding to the Nagano Olympics to try and attract young athletes and viewers, according to USA Today.
SURFER magazine noted that the surfing competition at the 2020 games will take place at an ocean beach about 40 minutes from Tokyo, with 20 male and 20 female competitors.
Surfers are already speaking out about the decision, with John John Florence and Carissa Moore supporting the addition of surfing to the Olympic Games. However, some surfers and skaters expressed some disdain for the decision, with one surfer telling The Wall Street Journal surfing was “too cool” for the Olympics.
But they may not have to worry too much; the sports may not be permanent additions to the Olympic Games, according to USA Today. The cities competing to host the 2024 Olympics, including Los Angeles, Paris, Budapest, and Rome, will be able to choose whether to host those sports. The IOC is expected to announce the 2024 host city in September 2017.