The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has supported the proposal to add surfing – and four new individual and team sports – to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The sport of surfing will be included in the Games of the XXXII Olympiad. For the first time in its history, surfers will battle for gold, silver, and bronze medals in the Japanese waves.
“If approved at the 129th IOC session in Rio de Janeiro in August, the change would be the most comprehensive evolution of the olympic program in modern history,” the IOC underlines in an official statement.
Surfing will be joined by skateboarding, sports climbing, karate, baseball/softball. According to the IOC, the new additions include “urban sports with a strong appeal to youth.”
Fernando Aguerre, the president of the International Surfing Association, is probably the happiest surfer on earth right now. He fought for the inclusion of surfing in the Olympic Games for two decades. This is his victory, too.
“This is a wonderful moment for our sport and for the global surfing family. I’d like to express our sincere thanks to the IOC Executive Board for providing us with this amazing opportunity,” stated Aguerre.
“Surfing has incredible youth appeal and a unique culture that would offer huge value to the Olympic Movement. We are aware that the hard work does not stop here. Today’s news gives us renewed energy and determination, and we look forward to working with the IOC and Tokyo 2020 as we continue on the road to the IOC Session in Rio.”
It is not clear whether the Olympic surfing competition will take place in the ocean or in an artificial surf pool. Skateboarding, an increasingly popular sport in Japan, will certainly debut in Tokyo 2020 in a modern skate park.
Interestingly,on the exact day that the Executive Board of the IOC confirmed surfing in the Olympics, big wave surfer Carlos Burle rode a wave carrying the Olympic torch, at Maracaipe Beach, in Brazil.
The IOC members will make the final decision at the 129th IOC Session in Rio de Janeiro, in August 2016. Surfing is one step closer to the Olympic dream.