- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The International Olympic Committee approved the most extensive additions to its program in modern history Wednesday, bringing back baseball and softball and adding four new sports to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. The IOC voted unanimously Wednesday to add baseball and softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing to the 2020 Olympic program.

“The Tokyo Games will be one of the most inclusive in world history,” said Yoshiro Mori, president of the Tokyo 2020 Committee.

The five-sport package will add 18 new events and 474 athletes to the 2020 Olympic program. The vote came just two days before the Opening Ceremonies for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.

With this vote, baseball and softball will make their comebacks to the Olympic stage. Both bat-and-ball sports were removed from the Olympic program in 2005, the first sports to be cut from the Olympic schedule since 1936. Karate, skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing will make their Olympic debuts in 2020.

The Tokyo 2020 Committee has worked for over a year to prepare the package. Mr. Mori said these five sports will “inspire young people and raise excitement levels in Japan.”

These sports will not take spots away from athletes in existing Olympic sports, the committee said. The decision applies only to the 2020 Tokyo Games, a vote to continue these sports’ inclusion will come at a later date.

“Our strong belief,” said Toshiro Muto, the committee’s executive officer, “Is that these sports will inspire and excite athletes and spectators in Japan and around the world.”

 

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