The dream of competition climbing featuring in the Olympic Games moved a significant step closer this week following a meeting of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Executive Board.
On 1 June, the IOC Executive Board supported the proposal to add a package of five new sports (karate, skateboarding, sport climbing, surfing and baseball/softball) to the programme of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The Organising Committee for Tokyo 2020 proposed these sports for inclusion in their edition of the Games in response to the IOC’s strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement, to encourage innovation in the Olympic programme.
The thinking behind this was that the five sports offer a key focus on youth, which is at the heart of the Games vision for Tokyo 2020, and represent a combination of well-established and emerging sports with significant popularity in Japan and beyond. They include team sports and individual sports, indoor and outdoor sports, and ‘urban’ sports with a strong appeal to youth.
The inclusion of the five new sports would add 18 events and 474 athletes to the Olympic programme in Tokyo, without impacting existing sports. The package promotes gender equality, with each of the five sports having equal numbers of teams for men and women, while also focusing on innovative and exciting sports for Japan and the wider international community.
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Although, this decision has still to be ratified by the full IOC Session in August this year, and in addition it is not binding on any future Games, it is nevertheless a significant step forward.
Dave Turnbull, BMC chief executive officer, said: “This is great news for competition climbing and the profile of the sport as a whole. The BMC is fully behind the goal of climbing becoming an Olympic sport. Hopefully, inclusion in Tokyo 2020 will open the door to new commercial opportunities to help give our competitors the best possible chance of future success.”
There are some people who think a positive decision in August may now be a mere formality. However, with the vote due to be a simple approval or disapproval of the whole package of five sports there is still the possibility that it may not be accepted in August. Fingers crossed that it is!
It has also been reported, by Inside The Games, that the five sports will receive no share of the revenue from Tokyo 2020; the IOC have confirmed that this will be distributed only between the 28 programmes due to appear on the programme at Rio 2016.
Read the full IOC announcement
International Federation of Sport Climbing welcomes IOC support
Reaction to IOC's Decision
GB Climbing is supported by the BMC, Mountaineering Scotland, Clif Bar, and Duco.
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