Surfing and Climbing Possible 2020 Olympic Events

Tokyo’s Olympic organizing committee has revealed the five sports shortlisted and awaiting approval to be included in the 2020 Olympics. The organizing committee, the first of its kind to be given such a historic opportunity, announced the proposed Olympic events in a September 28 press release. They propose 18 new events to showcase the sports of karate, skateboarding, baseball/softball, surfing and climbing.

Chairman of the Tokyo 2020 Additional Event Program Panel, Fujio Mitarai, thanked sports federations in the September press release, saying “Each of the… shortlisted international federations amply demonstrated their potential to add to the value of the games.” Mitarai also emphasized that adding the new events will further reconnect youth to the Olympic games. “We firmly believe that by connecting with youth, bringing to life Olympic Agenda 2020 and the Tokyo 2020 vision, our proposal constitutes the best possible package that will add the most value to the games.”

Extreme sports athletes and their faithful followers have long requested surfing and climbing to be included in the Olympic lineup. 

The climbing events will include bouldering, speed climbing and lead, for both male and female athletes. The International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) held the 2014 Climbing World Championships in Munich, Germany and Gijon, Spain last August and early September. The two championship events had 432 registered climbers with a total of over 23,000 spectators.

Possible2020OlympicEvents_640x359Climbing, as an Olympic event will surely keep seats filled and provide the opportunity for this physically demanding sport to gain further recognition. “Of course, there is still a long way to go, and all of us at the IFSC are deeply committed to meeting the challenges ahead. Together with our athletes and the National Federations, we are reaching new heights,” said Marco Scolaris, IFSC president responding to the encouraging news for climbing.

Also gearing up for a possible inclusion to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games, surfers are looking forward to men’s and women’s events. Over the years surfing has revamped its beach-bum image. From sandy beaches to boardrooms, surfing is now a billion-dollar industry. Kelly Slater, one of surfing’s most prolific athletes has an estimated net worth of almost four million dollars. Fans around the world, both young and old, are anxious and excited about the possibility of watching their favorite surfers carve up the 2020 Olympic wave.

“Tokyo 2020’s announcement today is an extraordinary moment for our sport and for the global Surfing Community,” Fernando Aguerre, the International Surfing Association (ISA) president said in a press release. “The ISA has been riding an amazing wave in this journey for Olympic inclusion and we are thrilled that Tokyo 2020 recognize the exceptional value and youthful lifestyle that Surfing can bring to the 2020 Games.”

The eagerness and enthusiasm of fans and athletes is evident; all hope that surfing and climbing will be accepted as new events in the Olympic games. However, athletes, fans and organization presidents and directors still have a long wait until anything is finalized. The new event proposal will go to a vote by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), meeting for the 129th IOC Session in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The final decision may come around in August of 2016, but the surfing and climbing community remains positively stoked.

—Stephen Seifert

Stephen Seifert is a writer, professor, adventurer and a health & fitness guru. His flare for travel and outdoor adventure allows him to enjoy culture and traditions different than his own. A healthy diet, routine fitness and constant mental development is the cornerstone to Stephen’s life. 



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