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New events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics move toward broader representation and gender equality

Copyrights: Flickr: Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games

New events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics move toward broader representation and gender equality

Some events to be added include 3X3 basketball, mixed relays, BMX Freestyle and women’s rowing.

The International Olympic Committee has announced that a number of new sports events will be introduced at Tokyo 2020. Additions include mixed gender relays, new “urban” and “youth” based sports and an overall increase in women’s events. These new developments will bring more diversity and reflect an effort to coincide with the Olympic Agenda 2020. The number of mixed events newly introduced is twice the number that took place in Rio 2016.  

The IOC president Thomas Bach stated: “The fascinating new events that we approved today, 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.”

Some are sceptical, however. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps recently expressed concern at the addition of new swimming events which include 800 metre freestyle for men and 1500 metre freestyle for women. Phelps stated, “What else are we going to add? Are we going to do, like, 75m frees? How many other events are we going to add?” Phelps argues that the new events may “take away from the sport” given the established history of the event schedule.

This seems to indicate reluctance toward changes for the sake of encouraging more spectators. The addition of mixed relays have indeed been repeatedly referred to as adding “fun” and “excitement” to the Games. But for many, these additions are not about publicity. Rather, these new races will reflect gender equality for the first time—a welcome and long-awaited change.

 

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Monday, June 26, 2017 - 11:42

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