The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which will now take place in 2021, will be adding five sports to its repertoire: skateboarding, surfing, baseball/softball, karate, and sports climbing. Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee, said “With the many options that young people have, we cannot expect any more that they will come automatically to us. We have to go to them…The five sports are an innovative combination of established and emerging, youth-focused events that are popular in Japan and will add to the legacy of the Tokyo Games.”
The addition of the new sports was proposed by the Tokyo Games Organizing Committee in a move to attract youth culture and target a larger demographic. President of the International Skateboarding Federation said he believes the inclusion of skateboarding in the Olympic Games “could change the world.” But other skateboarding enthusiasts are critical of its addition, fearing that the commercialization that comes with the Olympics could taint the sport’s culture.
Among other decisions regarding the new sports, it was finalized that surfing competitions would take place at a beach rather than a pool, and that skateboarding and climbing events would be held in structures built in urban settings.
It is undetermined whether these sports will continue to be included in future Olympic Games or if they will simply be a Tokyo attraction. Many experts are in doubt as to whether the Tokyo games will actually happen, even as far out as 2021.