Karate, sports climbing, surfing, skateboarding and, under a combined bid, baseball and softball could be added to the line-up for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Under the new International Olympic Committee (IOC) guidelines, host nations are able to propose adding new sports to the Olympic Games schedule, and Tokyo’s organizing committee have proposed that the five sports be included in the Summer Games. The IOC will make a decision on the proposal in August next year.
Should the IOC ratify all five sports, it will be the first time that karate, sports climbing, surfing and skateboarding will be events at the Olympics. For baseball and softball, it will mark the sports' return after the IOC voted to remove both sports following the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
"I think this is a wonderful package of events," additional event panel head Fujio Mitarai told reporters. "I think that the Olympic Games are an event that should reflect the trends of the times through youth."
Vice governor of Tokyo Toshiyuki Akiyama, who is also a member of the additional event panel, echoed Mitarai's sentiments and believes that targeting youth is the way to go.
"It was quite a difficult task," he said. "Baseball, softball and karate were proposed and supported by the Tokyo metropolitan assembly. As for skateboarding, sports climbing, surfing, the key word is youth."
IOC spokesman Mark Adams said that he was intrigued and excited by the five sports Tokyo’s organizing committee had chosen to add to the Olympic Games.
"This is another concrete step forward in the implementation of Olympic Agenda 2020, showing a new, fresh and very exciting approach to the Olympic program," Adams said. "The proposal…reflects…a particular appeal to youth."