OLYMPIC GAMES

Since when is surfing an Olympic sport and why?

Surfing is introduced to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Medals are limited seeing as one gold medal is given per gender category for each event. Events go from July 25 - August 1 (with 4 reserve days)

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Since when is surfing an Olympic sport and why?
PATRICK T. FALLON AFP

Four sports are debuting at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 as a proposal of The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic Games: karate, skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing. There will also be new additions regarding disciplines on already existing Olympic sports.

Surfing is expected to be one of the disciplines in the spotlight in this Olympics. As part of the 33 sports that will take place in the international event, it is one of those sports whose highlights can delight sports fans. Agile and dexterous athletes will perform all kinds of maneuvers to dominate the waves. Considering that their score will be based on the difficulty of the maneuvers performed, including speed, power, and flow.

2021 will be the first time that surfing will have a space in the Olympics. The International Surfing Association announced in 2018 that the Olympic trials will take place in the ocean in Shidashita Beach in Chiba, Tokyo, and not in artificial wave pools.

Why is surfing a new Olympic sport?

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided in 2014 that organizing committees of each Olympic Games edition could propose new events. In September 2015, the Tokyo committee sent its proposal to include karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing as new sports as well as the return of baseball and softball.

In August 2016, IOC approved their addition. Thomas Bach, president of the mentioned institution, explained the rationale behind the decision: "We want to take sport to the youth. With the many options that young people have, we cannot expect any more that they will come automatically to us. We have to go to them... Taken together, the five sports are an innovative combination of established and emerging, youth-focused events that are popular in Japan and will add to the legacy of the Tokyo Games." So, the reason to add surfing to the Olympic sports list is to bring new audiences to enjoy the sport spectacle, while taking advantage of its popularity in the Japanese culture and broadening the range of disciplines.