Skateboarding And Surfing To Be Confirmed As Tokyo 2020 Olympic Sports By The IOC Before Rio 2016
Sports will "offer a key focus on youth," according to statement from the IOC.
It's a story that's been knocking on the door for a while now but if recent comments are to be believed, the confirmation of skateboarding and surfing as events for the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020 is now a mere formality. The journey from underground action sport to official Olympic event, with all of the global spotlight that entails, is almost complete.
At the start of August, in the days leading up to the Rio 2016 Games, the International Olympic Committee's executive board will be proposing skateboarding, surfing, karate, sports climbing, and softball/baseball for inclusion in future Olympic Games. The final decision will be made during an IOC session held between the 1st and 4th of August, but everything now suggests the session will yield a positive result for these events.
The decision is sure to be seen as controversial from traditional sporting purists who will argue that these events don't have the pedigree required of an Olympic sport.
A statement from IOC has argued that these new sports "offer a key focus on youth, which is at the heart of the Games vision for Tokyo."
The statement went on to say that: "They represent a combination of well-established and emerging sports with significant popularity in Japan and beyond."
"If approved, the change would be the most comprehensive evolution of the Olympic programme in modern history."
Of course, it's far too early to know what shape the skateboarding and surfing events would take. Although, no doubt, debate will already be well under way on the pros and cons of artificial wave pools for surfing and whether the skateboarding competitions will be vert and/or street.
The five new sports are set to add 18 events to the Olympic schedule. According to the IOC, this would give approximately 474 additional athletes a chance to take part in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
In the same way that the Winter Olympics introduced snowboarding events to give their Games a more youthful feel, it looks like the Summer Games have a similar strategy in mind by bringing skateboarding and surfing into the fold.
For obvious reasons, we'll be keeping a very close eye on this story. Expect news from the IOC sessions at the start of August to be with you as soon as we know more.