The 2020 summer Olympics will be held in Tokyo, but we may be in for some new and returning sports gracing our screens. Today, Japanese organizers chose eight sports to include in the 2020 summer Olympics. The top two to make the cut: baseball and softball.
Other sports among the list to come back during the Olympics are squash (which is similar to racquetball), karate, surfing, bowling, roller sports, sport climbing, and wushu, which is Chinese martial arts.
In 2008, baseball and softball were both dropped from the 2008 summer Olympics but remain highly popular in Japan, thus making their comeback during the 2020 Olympics.
Riccardo Fraccari, president of the World Baseball Softball Confederation, told ESPN as follows.
“This is a great day for our sport. Today baseball and softball — and the millions of athletes and fans who call it their sport — reached first base.”
The next step to getting these sports in the summer Olympics is each sports’ federation will make a presentation in Tokyo in August. After that, organizers will make recommendations to the International Olympic Committee by September 30. The final decision for these sports being included in the 2020 summer Olympics will be in August, 2016.
Other sports tried to make it into the Olympics but failed. These sports included air sports, American football, bowls, bridge, chess, dance sports, floorball, flying disco, korfball (which is similar to volleyball and basketball combined), netball, orienteering (which requires navigational skills), polo, racquetball, sumo, tug of war, underwater sports, waterski, and wakeboard.
In December, the International Olympic Committee, under the Agenda 2020 reform, allowed the Olympic host city to propose adding sports to the games. Tokyo 2020 organizers said that adding these sports will promote the Olympic Movement and its values, with a focus on youth appeal and engage the Japanese population and new audiences worldwide.
Major League Baseball has said they will not alter their schedule to accommodate the Olympics, which means that players who are currently playing in the MLB won’t participate in the summer Olympics.
Fujio Mitarai, a chair in the selection panel, told ESPN as follows.
“The most important factors were: does the sport have the support of the younger generation and how big is the population of the sport worldwide?”
In trying to get the younger generation to view the 2020 summer Olympics, Mitarai said that skateboarding will be included in roller sports.
How do you feel about these sports making a comeback during the 2020 summer Olympics? Do you think that MLB players should be included if baseball makes it back into the Olympics?
(Photo by Bongarts/ Getty Images)