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New sports for Olympic Games

News broke on March 27 that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board accepted the Paris 2024 proposal for new sports; this includes skateboarding, sports climbing, surfing and breaking (Bbreakdancing). Breaking and sports climbing were in the Youth Olympic Games at Buenos Aires in 2018, and they will make their Olympic debut in 2020 at the Tokyo Games along with surfing and skateboarding.

These sports will not be finalized for the 2024 games until the December 2020 IOC executive meeting after observations are done which include the 2020 games. Paris’ goal for the 2024 games is to “make the program of the Olympic games more gender balanced, more youthful and more urban.” To fully grasp what each sport will hold, it’s important to see how they will be formatted.

Skateboarding has its origins in the 1940s and has grown rapidly; the first broadcast of a competition was the National Skateboarding Championships in 1965, and the 1970s brought the popularity of skate parks.  The format for skateboarding in the 2020 games will have two disciplines. A street course which will feature stairs, handrails, curbs, benches, walls, slopes and a park course where competitors will perform mid-air tricks.

Sports climbing is a newer sport to the world stage of competitive sports; it has been in the World Games since 2005. The format being proposed for the Olympics will have the athletes compete in three main areas, lead climbing, speed climbing and bouldering.

Surfing has been around for hundreds of years, and today is a household name; in 1997 the International Surfing Association was officially recognized by the IOC. In 2020, the format for surfing will use a four-man heat structure, and the two highest scoring athletes in each heat will move on to the next round.

Breaking has been a defined dance style in the United States since the early 1970s. Since then, the sport has grown a lot. There are yearly World championships, the first being the Battle of the Year which was founded in 1990. In 2018, when it appeared in the Buenos Aries youth games, the format for breaking featured one-on-one battles and team battles with mixed and non-mixed gender competitions.

Any of these sports becoming permanent additions to the Olympic games would be not only be a huge milestone for the Olympics, but for fans and athletes of each sport.

Sean Laughlin is a third-year student majoring in communication studies.

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