The International Olympic Committee has added five new sports to the programme for Tokyo 2020 – baseball/softball, karate, skateboarding, sports climbing and surfing.
In a unanimous vote, the 90 IOC members backed the executive board’s recommendation to bring in the five sports, which will add 470 athletes to the Olympic Village and 18 new events in four years’ time.
The decision is another vote of confidence for IOC president Thomas Bach’s “Olympic Agenda 2020” plan to freshen up the Games and keep them relevant for younger audiences.
The five sports were proposed by the organising committee of the Tokyo Games and Bach’s idea is that all future hosts should be able to suggest their own choices – yesterday’s decision only relates to Tokyo and all five could be dropped in 2024.
Whether any of the existing sports will be dropped to accommodate the new arrivals is still to be decided, with a final decision expected in mid-2017.
IOC chiefs have promised the 28 international federations that govern the current sports that their athlete and medal quotas are not under threat but a shake-up of the events they offer is likely.
“We want to take sport to the youth,” said Bach. “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.
“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.”
The Court of Arbitration for Sport has rejected appeals by the Russian Weightlifting Federation and 17 Russian rowers against suspensions imposed for the Rio 2016 Olympics.
The CAS panel ruled the penalty was valid and properly applied.