The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has approved the event programme for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The decision marks a key milestone in the evolution of the Olympic programme by introducing youth and urban innovations, significantly improving gender equality, and reducing the overall number of athletes, hence reducing the Games’ footprint.
Commenting on the decision on June 9, 2017, IOC President Thomas Bach said: “The fascinating new events that we approved today [June 9], together with the five new sports that were added to the Tokyo 2020 programme last year, represent a step-change in the Olympic programme. I am delighted that the Olympic Games in Tokyo will be more youthful, more urban and will include more women.”
The Executive Board decision will lead to a net increase of 15 events, an overall reduction of 285 athletes from Rio 2016, and the highest representation of female athletes in Olympic history. In Tokyo, the number of mixed events will double from nine in Rio 2016 to 18. All new events will make use of existing venues.
The decision is a significant step towards achieving the 50% gender balance at the Olympic Games in both athletes and events, as clearly stated by Olympic Agenda 2020.
Four new International Federations (IFs) will move to gender-balanced in events for the first time (Canoe, Rowing, Shooting and Weightlifting). In terms of athletes, six IFs will move to gender balance for the first time (Canoe, Judo, Rowing, Sailing, Shooting and Weightlifting). At discipline level, gender balance is achieved in BMX Racing, Mountain Bike and Freestyle Wrestling.
The programme also includes youth-focused and urban-based additions such as Basketball 3×3 and BMX Freestyle, on top of Sport Climbing and Skateboarding. Basketball 3×3 was a successful innovation at the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore 2010 and Nanjing 2014. Sport Climbing and Skateboarding were proposed along with Baseball/Softball, Karate, and Surfing by Tokyo 2020 last year.
The next edition of the Summer Youth Olympic Games, which will take place in Buenos Aires in October 2018, will feature BMX Freestyle, Karate and Sport Climbing as well as several new innovative urban sports such as Breakdance and Roller Sports.
The review process for the Tokyo 2020 programme started in Rio 2016, where comprehensive data were collected for the first time at event level, giving IFs unparalleled insight into the overall performance of their sports, disciplines and events at the Games. Concurrently, IFs were invited to submit their requests for changes to their events, athlete quotas and competition formats to the IOC by February 2017.