Door Opened for New Olympic Sports Starting 2020 In Tokyo

Reporting from the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco – In a unanimous vote, International Olympic Committee (IOC) members approved Agenda 2020 proposals regarding the composition of the Olympic sport program opening the door for new sports starting in 2020.  Group Chair Franco Carraro outlined the complex proposal to the IOC Members Sunday.

Franco Carraro at 127th IOC Session December 8th, 2015 (GB Photo)

Franco Carraro at 127th IOC Session December 8th, 2015 (GB Photo)

A restrictive 28-sport program limit has been removed and the IOC has instead approved an event-based structure where additional sports can be added while limits will remain on approximately 10,500 athletes and 310 medal events.

In addition, organizing committees will now have the opportunity to propose the inclusion of locally popular sports to their individual programs.

This is welcome news for the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee who have been aiming to host Olympic baseball and softball and are anxious to add the sports to their program – and the reforms take place immediately.

Baseball and softball were last staged at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games before it was removed from the program over concerns that it lacked universality.  Since then both have been working to get back into the Games and last year they merged into a single confederation – WBSC.

“Today, there is excitement circulating around the baseball and softball world and there is great hope that our athletes will now have a real opportunity — the pinnacle and highest honour in our sport — to play for their country, aiming to win an Olympic gold medal,” WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari said.

“The reforms herald a new era for sports and athletes worldwide, and provide important hope and inspiration for sports and athletes wanting to participate in the world’s most important global sporting event, the Olympic Games”

Other sports see opportunity in the new reforms.

Squash actively campaigned to be included in the 2020 Games but lost out to wrestling when it won a vote last year.

After the reforms were approved, World Squash Federation President N Ramachandran said in a press release “I have always said that my task has been to keep pushing at the Olympic Games Programme door for Squash. “

“Now that I can see that a little light is coming through at the edges I am delighted of course.”

Other proposals were approved this morning with respect to sustainability and legacy, cooperation with other sport entities and the bidding process.

The IOC Session will review further reforms Monday afternoon and Tuesday.

More to come…