Japanese organizers have proposed adding five sports to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, including climbing, baseball-softball, karate, skateboarding and surfing.

The recommendation will be submitted to the International Olympic Committee, which will make a final decision in Rio de Janeiro in August 2016.

“This package of events represents both traditional and emerging, youth-focused events, all of which are popular both in Japan and internationally,” the organizing committee said in a statement.

Organizations such as the IFSC have pushed hard for climbing to be in the Olympics.

Organizations such as the IFSC have pushed hard for climbing to be in the Olympics.

“This will serve as a driving force to further promote the Olympic movement and its values.”

Twenty-six sports had originally applied for consideration. The eight sports made a short list that was announced in June.

There would be bouldering, lead and speed competitions for a combined total of 40 athletes. Surfing would have two shortboard events for 40 competitors.

“It is a great honour to have been chosen. We thank the Tokyo 2020 Additional Event Programme Panel for this fantastic opportunity and the recognition within the Olympic Movement. Of course, go, and all of us at the IFSC are deeply committed to meeting the challenges ahead. Together with our and the National Federations, we are reaching new heights”, says Marco Scolaris, the IFSC President.

It is also the recognition of the tremendous growth of Sport Climbing in recent years. Worldwide, the sport counted 25 million climbers in 2013, while in 2015, figures are estimated at 35 million and 50 per cent are under 25 years of age, thanks to the latest trend of urban/action sports.

The IFSC is now fully dedicated to the next steps that will take to the final decision at the 129th IOC Session in Rio in August 2016. Until then, the IFSC will continue to work with the Athletes and the National Federations to reinforce and improve its organization to prove the solidity of this choice

American Ashima Shiriashi wrote on her Facebook today, “Thanks to all of the athletes and the whole climbing community for the hard work you put into for this to happen.

“My dream was to one day compete in the Olympics as a rock climber since day one of my climbing journey. I will work hard to realize that dream!”

Team Canada for the 2015 Toronto Bouldering World Cup.

Team Canada for the 2015 Toronto Bouldering World Cup. Canada has a number of strong athletes who compete on the world stage. With a possibility of competing at the 2020 Olympics, there will be more focus on Canada’s competition scene.

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3 Comments

  • I saw another article saying “The recommendation will be submitted to the International Olympic Committee, which will make a final decision in Rio de Janeiro in August 2016.” So it’s not final?

    • raganwald says:

      It’s not final. Historically, the IOC has leaned towards approving something culturally significant to the host country. Judo got into the Olympics when Tokyo last hosted it, and Te Kwon Do got in when Korea hosted it. So that looks favourable for Karate.

      Other sports could get in as demonstration events. If I had to bet, I’d say climbing could get in as a demonstration sport.

      • neil says:

        Ashima Shiraishi, who is a Japanese American is a climbing phenom, has been on Japanese TV and and is a bit of a celebrity here and there. Maybe that is what it will take to get climbing past the short list.