(ATR) Paris 2024 organizers have proposed four new sports to be included on their program: sport climbing, skateboarding, surfing and breaking.
The first three will make their Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020, while breaking, or breakdancing, was boosted by a successful trial run at the Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games this past October.
Paris 2024 president Tony Estanguet said the inclusion of the sports responded to a need to make the Olympics "more urban" and "more artistic".
Baseball/softball, karate, squash, snooker and chess were among the sports that came up short in the Paris 2024 vote.
Baseball and softball are expected to generate some of the greatest enthusiasm and following in Japan. The snub by the Paris organizers has to be considered a major blow to baseball, a sport that initially made its Olympic debut in St. Louis 1904 and became an official sport at Barcelona 1992, before being voted off ahead of London 2012. Softball officially debuted at Atlanta 1996.
World Baseball and Softball Confederation president Riccardo Fraccari congratulated the sports that made the cut on Twitter, adding "I also guarantee that WBSC remains committed to boosting the growth of baseball-softball in France and around the world.
"We continue to believe our inclusive, accessible sports can serve to promote the Olympic Values across the world. We will continue working with the Olympic Movement in the lead up to our spectacular Olympic comeback in Tokyo 2020. And we already focus on Los Angeles 2028."
In a joint statement, the World Squash Federation (WSF) and theProfessional Squash Association (PSA) expressed "great disappointment" with the decision. The organizations also noted that three of the four sports chosen for 2024 are already in for 2020, which "leads to a belief that Paris 2024 and the IOC favored sports already in the Olympic program, leaving practically no opportunity for other sports".
Karate is also in the Tokyo 2020 program but finds itself out of Paris 2024. The World Karate Federation said it was "deeply saddened" by the decision to be left out.
"Over the last months, we have worked relentlessly, together with the French Federation, to achieve our goal of being included in Paris 2024. We believed that we had met all the requirements and that we had the perfect conditions to be added to the sports programme; however, we have learned today that our dream will not be coming true," said WKF President Antonio Espinós.
Naturally, IF leaders of the accepted sports were thrilled.
"Today is another amazing milestone in Surfing's Olympic wave," said International Surfing Association president Fernando Aguerre. "We are excited and humbled that Paris 2024 has included Surfing on its list of proposed sports for the 2024 Olympic Games.
"This announcement takes us one step closer towards our goal of long-term Olympic inclusion," he said.
Sport Climbing federation president Marco Scolaris echoed similar excitement.
"It is again a great day: our climb goes on, and new challenges are taking shape beyond Tokyo," Scolaris said. "We are happy to see that Paris 2024 is supporting the new wave, which is strengthening the Olympic movement.
"We are proud to be part of this process and we look forward to the next steps in the following months."
Like the three sports which will debut in Tokyo, breaking is another expected to excite and appeal to the youth culture that the IOC continues to target. Additionally, it is cost friendly and doesn’t require construction of a unique venue. It can be contested in a temporary venue and/or alongside other sports. No specialized equipment is needed – just a good floor and a loud sound system and chairs for a few judges.
The list of proposed new sports has now been officially submitted by Paris 2024 to the IOC and will be reviewed internally. New sports will then be granted provisional approval at the 134th IOC Session in Lausanne on June 24 before receiving formal confirmation by the IOC Executive Board in December 2020, following the Tokyo 2020 Games.
Written by Brian Pinelli
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