LANE ONE: IOC to add skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing to LA28, while boxing, weightlifting and modern pent are now in limbo


A few months ago, the sports of skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing made their debut at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Now they seem to be an integral part of the Olympic program.

The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee, announcement that, in conjunction with the Organizing Committee for the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games, these three sports would be added to the “initial sporting program” of the 2028 Games, while three struggling sports were left out, at least for now: boxing, weightlifting and modern pentathlon. declared the IOC President Thomas Bach (GER):

“The proposed inclusion of these youth-focused sports is based on the significant contribution to the overall success of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, their commitment to innovation and partnership expressed by LA28, and also recognizing the deep roots of each of these three sports. in LA and California.

“At the same time, the IOC and the LA Organizing Committee renewed their joint commitment to prioritize reducing the costs and complexity of the Games.”

All three were a small part of the Tokyo Games, with 40 athletes each for surfing and sport climbing and 80 for skateboarding. This was increased for Paris 2024 – still as added sports – to 88 for skateboarding, 68 for climbing and 44 for surfing.

This is important because Bach pointed out that the overall athlete quota of 10,500 remains for Paris and Los Angeles, which means adding these sports must take a bite out of other sports in terms of athlete numbers. participants.

But not if boxing (252 athletes by 2024), weightlifting (120) or modern pentathlon (72) are further reduced or eliminated. Bach explained:

“For boxing, weightlifting and modern pentathlon, there will be a track of inclusion in this initial athletic program. These three sports could potentially be included in the initial sports program of LA28 by the IOC Session in 2023 if by then the respective International Federation demonstrates to the satisfaction of the IOC Executive Board that it has addressed the following areas.

“First, the AIBA [boxing]. The AIBA must demonstrate that it has successfully addressed persistent concerns about its governance, financial transparency and sustainability, and the integrity of its adjudication and adjudication processes.

“Second, the IWF [weightlifting]. The IWF and its future leaders must demonstrate their transition to compliance and effective culture change. In addition, they must successfully combat the historical impact of doping in sport and ensure the integrity, robustness and full independence of its anti-doping program.

“Third, and it’s different, very different from weightlifting and boxing. The third is the UIPM [modern pentathlon]. The UIPM must finalize its proposal for the replacement of equestrianism and for the overall format of the competition. They must demonstrate a significant reduction in costs and complexity and improvements in the areas of safety, accessibility, universality, appeal to young people and the general public.

These “paths” will be a major challenge for all three sports. Bach further explained that AIBA still has some important questions to answer, and he said that “serious concerns remain until todayAbout the IWF and its lingering governance issues, including the inability to hold elections on its own announced schedule.

Bach’s comments on the modern pentathlon were particularly serious:

“The UIPM must finalize its proposal for the replacement of equestrianism and for the overall format of the competition. They must demonstrate a significant reduction in costs and complexity and improvements in the areas of safety, accessibility, universality, appeal to young people and the general public.

These comments will be a huge disappointment for many pentathletes who have protested against the replacement of horsemanship by another discipline – and continue the litigation with the Court of Arbitration for Sport – with a tacit acceptance by the IOC of the change proposed by the federation in the sport. .

In addition, the sports director of the IOC McConnell Kit (NZL) made some insightful comments on the inclusion of the three new sports that highlight the issue of modern pentathlon and possibly even boxing and weightlifting:

“They bring new communities of athletes, young people from all over the world into the Olympic Movement, they are globally popular, they are easily accessible around the world and they also have a global audience. … ‘[W]e have seen success on the Olympic stage, all three have brought in the best athletes they have, all three have had a very strong impact in terms of dissemination and digital engagement, all these indicators around the Games and have reaches new audiences.

What can the modern pentathlon say about its global audience and its commitment to broadcasting and digital?

The LA28 sports program at 28 sports (and possibly 31 sports) is expected to undergo further changes, however. Bach said:

“LA28 still has the option of offering additional sports in 2023. At the same time, the Executive Board agreed to advance the decision on the disciplines for each sport to be included in the Olympic program from December 2024 to mid-2023 for provide certainty sooner and sooner – especially for athletes, but also for all NOCs, IFs and the Organizing Committee.

So Los Angeles organizers may still ask for other sports, with baseball and softball being in high demand – given their popularity in the area – and perhaps others. The federations of cricket, break dance, karate, mixed martial arts, sambo, plus a sport originating in the Los Angeles area – Ultimate Flying Disc – and many others all require a place in the program.

In addition to the limit of 10,500 athletes, the IOC’s review of the list of disciplines could see events possibly removed from the 2028 schedule. For example, gymnastics includes artistic competitions that are popular with both men and women, but it does there are also the less popular disciplines of rhythm and trampoline. Will they survive? Cycling has events on road, track, BMX and MTB, and what about events in weight sports or sailing and shooting programs, and the like?

Bach also noted that the IOC is monitoring discussions within FIFA for a possible biennial Men’s World Cup, which could potentially start in 2028 and place it in the same summer period as the LA28 Games. Bach said he had not been in consultation with FIFA on this matter, but if the schedule change was adopted by FIFA:

“We will therefore have to consider what this would mean for the availability of the best players and the IOC will then have to consider the consequences of such a situation but for the moment it would only be speculation.”

The message in all of this is that the LA28 Games are getting closer, fast, and just as the 1932 and 1984 Games looked different from their predecessors, so will 2028, with many more changes to come.

Rich Perelman
Editor

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