Skateboarding, climbing and surfing recommended to feature at Los Angeles 2028 Olympics; weightlifting, boxing and modern pentathlon will need to earn a spot

Skateboarding, climbing and surfing will feature at the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board Thursday recommended that the three sports be added to the program for their third consecutive Games.

Sport climbing joins skateboarding and surfing as sports recommended for the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic program (IFSC Image)
Sport climbing joins skateboarding and surfing as sports recommended for the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic program (IFSC Image)

The sports made popular and successful debuts at the postponed Tokyo 2020 Games and are already on the program for the Paris 2024 Olympics.  The added disciplines are part of the IOC’s strategy to embrace more youthful and universally attractive events for the program in order to hold on to the younger demographic of Olympic consumers.

But that same direction could represent a death-knell to what had been the locked-in core sports of boxing, weightlifting and modern pentathlon – three sports that have effectively been put on probation and must earn their spots on the LA 2028 program by addressing specific improvements ahead of the 2023 IOC Session.

Additionally, the IOC has put FIFA on watch and has reserved the right to remove football from the Olympic program depending on the “evolution of the international match calendar.”  The move is a critical acknowledgment of potential FIFA plans to hold its World Cup every two years instead of quadrennially.

The new sports are set to be rubber-stamped by the IOC Session in Beijing during the Olympic Winter Games in February.  The LA 2028 program is due to be finalized in December 2024, and could include additional sports that the Games organizing committee is allowed to recommend.

“As we look at additional sport recommendations, we will continue to focus on sports that are relevant to Los Angeles, provide an incredible fan experience and contribute to the success of the Games,” LA 2028 Chair Casey Wasserman said.

“We want to build on tradition, while progressing the Olympic Games forward.”

However the dust settles, the Olympic program must respect the 10,500 athlete quota set forth in the Olympic Charter.

“These quintessential West Coast sports share a youthful energy and creative vibe and will be perfect for the LA28 Olympics,” Wasserman said regarding the new IOC recommended sport additions.

“We are eager to have the LA28 sport program include some of the most iconic LA sports and welcome the IOC Executive Board’s proposal.

“These sports will bring fresh excitement and relevance to the Olympic Games in America and connect the Olympics with younger fans across Los Angeles and around the world.”

World Skate President Sabatino Aracu said in a statement “That’s … Three!! With three Olympic Games confirmed and as one of the 28 Summer Olympic IFs, World Skate’s position takes on a new dimension that will bear fruits in the future for both the International Federation and our NGBs”

According to the IOC, these criteria must be met for the at-risk sports to earn a spot on the LA 2028 program:

  • Boxing:  AIBA must demonstrate that it has successfully addressed the ongoing concerns around its governance, its financial transparency and sustainability, and the integrity of its refereeing and judging processes.
  • Weightlifting:  The IWF and its future leadership must demonstrate its transition towards compliance and an effective change of culture. Furthermore, they must successfully address the historical incidence of doping in the sport and ensure the integrity, robustness and full independence of its anti-doping program.
  • Modern Pentathlon:  The UIPM must finalize its proposal for the replacement of horse riding and the overall competition format, and demonstrate a significant reduction in cost and complexity and an improvement across the areas of safety, accessibility, universality and appeal for young people and the general public.

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.

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