2020 Tokyo Olympics: How a Sport Becomes an Official Event

by Joe Rutland
(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Some Outsiders just might wonder how a particular sport became an official event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Well, let’s take a look.

We begin our journey at the main source. In this case, it’s the Olympics’ main website. Parameters become set around what it takes for a sport to be a part of the international event.

The website states that this is a wish from many sports enthusiasts. “The IOC [International Olympic Committee] appreciates this enthusiasm,” according to the website.

“As a result, it tries to make the program of the Games evolve within the limits and rules established.”

What has to happen, though? A sport needs to be governed by an International Federation that follows the Olympic Charter. Then, the sport must be played around the world and meet specific criteria.

What happens next? The IOC’s Executive Board might recommend a recognized sport get added to the Games if the IOC Session approves it.

So, those are the particular steps that sports looking to gain entry in the Olympics have to follow or achieve for consideration. Outsiders might one day see bass fishing in there. Who knows when it comes to the Olympics, though.

2020 Tokyo Olympics Added Five Sports for Its Games Only

According to an article from Forbes, five sports gained approval in 2016 by the International Olympic Committee for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The five sports are baseball/softball, karate, skateboarding, sports climbing, and surfing. These five will only take place during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and not carry over past it. They join the 28 already-approved Olympic sports. These five new sports add 18 events and 474 athletes to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“We want to take [the] sport to the youth,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a press release back in 2016. “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.”

Irwin Kishner, who focuses on sports law at Herrick, Feinstein LLP, said, “Many sports want to get Olympic recognition because it is a way for public demonstration to the world, and a surge of interest often follows.”

Kishner has represented sports organizations like the New York Yankees, World Surfing League, Baseball Hall of Fame, and others in his career.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics held its Opening Ceremony on Friday morning, United States time. In Japan, it already was Friday night. NBC, which is carrying the Olympics this year, managed to get some solid ratings out of its primetime re-broadcast. The network did show the Opening Ceremony live on Friday morning in the States. It then showed the ceremony Friday night and even re-aired it overnight for those who either couldn’t watch it or night owls who could not sleep.