In August 2016, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved five new Olympic disciplines, debuting at the Tokyo Olympic Games. They are surfing, climbing, karate, skateboarding, and baseball/softball, chosen from a shortlist of 26.
Squash, bowling, and wushu (a Chinese martial art) were also on this list submitted to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) by the Tokyo Olympic organizers. At the time, the IOC considered that the five new sports represent "a combination of well-established and emerging sports with enormous popularity in Japan and other countries" and "a strong attraction among young people".
To accommodate these new sports, 18 additional events have been created. The inclusion of karate alone represents the awarding of eight more medals. In addition, skateboarding was divided into two sports (street and park), and baseball was played only by men and softball only by women.
The reasons for the change
While baseball and karate were chosen because they are trendy in Japan and to meet the host country's interests, climbing, surfing, and skateboarding were intended to connect with generation Z. Specialists considered that these digital natives born after 2000 are no longer interested in sports with strict rules and "dogmas" arisen from a military-type model, as are some sports rooted in the 19th century.
In their relationship with sports, this new generation seeks disciplines characterized by the breaking down of boundaries, the search for freedom, and the relationship with the environment.
What was left out and what will make it in 2024
Twenty-one sports were left out, such as American football, billiards, bowling, bridge, chess, dancing, orienteering, equestrian polo, squash, sumo, among others. Eternal candidates, such as rugby or golf, may make it to the next Olympics, same as new urban sports like parkour, following in the footsteps of skateboarding. It should be noted that breakdancing will already be part of the Olympic program in Paris 2024.
The basic requirements for a sport to be Olympic are as follows: it must have a men's federation in at least 75 countries on four continents and a women's federation in 40 countries on three continents. In addition, the country organizing the Games can propose the inclusion or exclusion of sports depending on its own performance or on climatic and economic conditions. Nevertheless, in the end, it's the IOC who gets to votes on whether they will be accepted or not.
The inclusion of breakdance, slalom canoeing, and new mixed events are among the main novelties of the next Olympics scheduled to take place between July 26 and August 11, 2024, in Paris. Of this year's newcomers, skateboarding, surfing, and climbing will continue, while karate and baseball/softball will be left out.
For the first time in the history of the Games, there will be gender equality: 50% male and female participation. To make this possible, the IOC made changes in several modalities.
In Paris, a new mixed athletics event will replace the men's 50 km athletic march. A new women's weight class in boxing replaces a men's weight class. Two slalom canoeing events will replace two-speed canoeing events. In addition, there are three recent mixed events in sailing (including kitesurfing) and one new diverse team event in shooting.
C2 1000m, the canoeing event, will leave the Olympic program to make way for C2 500m.
The IOC has set a quota of 10500 athletes for Paris-2024, including new disciplines, 592 fewer compared to Tokyo, which will necessarily reduce the overall size and complexity of the Games.
"With this program, we are making the Paris 2024 Olympic Games suitable for the post-coronavirus world. As a result, we are further reducing the cost and complexity of hosting the Games. While we have achieved gender equality in Tokyo, we will see the same number of female and male athletes participating for the first time in Olympic history. There is also a big focus on youth," clarified IOC President, Thomas Bach.