POSTED: August 4th 2016
NewsUpdate

Olympics: Baseball/Softball, Surfing, Skateboarding, Karate and Sport Climbing all make it to the Tokyo 2020 summer Games

Officials from all 5 sports at the Rio 2016 IOC session © IOC
Officials from all 5 sports at the Rio 2016 IOC session © IOC

LAURA WALDEN (USA) / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) The International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed unanimously that five new sports will appear on the Tokyo 2020 summer Olympic Games. Baseball/Softball, Surfing, Skateboarding, Karate and Sport Climbing are all sports with a strong youth following as the IOC takes a path toward a younger audience.

This comes after a two year process following the IOC passing Agenda 2020 to reform the Olympic Movement.

IOC President Thomas Bach said, "We want to take sport to the youth. With the many options that young people have, we cannot expect any more that they will come automatically to us. We have to go to them. Tokyo 2020's balanced proposal fulfils all of the goals of the Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendation that allowed it. Taken together, the five sports are an innovative combination of established and emerging, youth-focused events that are popular in Japan and will add to the legacy of the Tokyo Games."

Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori added, "The inclusion of the package of new sports will afford young athletes the chance of a lifetime to realise their dreams of competing in the Olympic Games - the world's greatest sporting stage - and inspire them to achieve their best, both in sport and in life." 

Reactions of the good news came from all five of the international sports federations:

Baseball/Softball

WBSC President Fraccari said: "Today's decision is an important milestone in the sport's history and a momentous day for baseball/softball's estimated 65 million athletes in over 140 countries, as well as millions more fans around the world.  On behalf of the WBSC and all the athletes, I would like to express our deepest gratitude to the Tokyo 2020 leadership for putting their faith in our sport to begin with; to IOC President Thomas Bach, whose Olympic Agenda 2020 vision has made this opportunity a reality; and to all IOC members for recognising the valuable contribution the sport can make to the Olympic Movement. 

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said: "We are excited about the IOC's announcement restoring Baseball and Softball to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Baseball and Softball are global sports that belong in the Olympics.  We are grateful to the IOC Executive Board, the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee and the World Baseball Softball Confederation for their collective efforts, which will allow fans throughout the world to again enjoy Baseball and Softball on the Olympic stage." 

Surfing

ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, said: "After decades of hard work and dedication we are absolutely thrilled that Surfing will officially join the Olympic Sports Programme at Tokyo 2020. Our Olympic dream has now become a reality and on behalf of the entire Surfing family I would like to express our sincere thanks to the IOC and Tokyo 2020 for their pioneering vision in making this historic decision possible.

"This is a game-changing moment for Surfing. We are already seeing increased popularity of the sport across the world and the Olympic Games will provide an incredible platform to further showcase Surfing and its core values. With its unique and modern blend of sport performance, style and youth culture, Surfing will help deliver something special to the Games.‎

"We are especially stoked for the athletes who now have their own dream to shoot for - to compete for their countries on the greatest sporting stage. We can't wait to see the world's best going head to head on the waves in Tokyo and millions of Surfing fans revelling in the competition and the fantastic festival atmosphere of the beach party. 

"We know the hard work does not stop here. We look forward with great enthusiasm and energy to working in partnership with the IOC and Tokyo 2020 as we aim to make Surfing's Olympic debut a resounding success."

Karate

WKF President Antonio Espinós said: "Who could have believed that when we had our first World Championships in 1970 in Nippon Budokan, that 50 years later we would come back to Nippon Budokan for Olympic Games.

"We would like to thank the organising committee of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games because without them it would have been impossible for us to be here. And many thanks to IOC President Thomas Bach because we are only here for his Olympic Agenda. We will work as much as we can since we have the vocation to be Olympic sport," added the head of the World Karate Federation.

"We are convinced that we will give added value to the Olympic Games." 

Skateboarding

Sabatino Aracu, FIRS President, said: "This is a very important achievement that makes us really proud. It comes at the end of a very long selection process that, since the invite from the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee in February 2015, has seen our International Federation working closely with the IOC. It is also a starting point of the work we will have to carry out in the next years to make sure that the presence of Skateboarding in the Olympic Games in Tokyo meets the highest expectations.

"As IOC President Thomas Bach has rightly reminded everyone also during these past days, sports shall engage young people and not wait for young people to come to them. In this respect, our Movement has a lot to offer: our disciplines are born in the streets, and it is in the streets that young people experience them. We are sure that we are going to be able to inject new life into the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games."

Sport Climbing

Marco Scolaris, the IFSC President, said: "It is a great honor to have been chosen. We thank the Tokyo 2020 Additional Event Programme Panel for this fantastic opportunity and the recognition within the Olympic Movement. Of course, there is still a long way to go, and all of us at the IFSC are deeply committed to meeting the challenges ahead. Together with our athletes and the National Federations, we are reaching new heights." 

**LAURA WALDEN has over twenty-five years of experience in the Olympic Movement, formerly at the European Olympic Committees with SportEurope under former IOC President Dr. Jacques Rogge and IOC Member Mario Pescante. She worked with the Rome 2004 and Turin 2006 Olympic bids and also managed PR & media for Dr. Jacques Rogge during his campaign for the presidency.


Keywords · Olympics · Tokyo 2020


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