The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will decide the host city for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games one year from now at a meeting in Buenos Aires. The main order of business will be to choose a winner from the finalists including Istanbul, Madrid, and Tokyo.
Another key vote will be held to determine what sport will be added to the schedule for the Games. At the recently concluded London Games, there were 26 sports contested, and the total will increase to the maximum of 28 for 2016 in Rio de Janeiro with the addition of golf and rugby sevens.
In order to create space for a new sport, there is considerable specuation that one of taekwondo and modern pentathlon could be eliminated for the 2020 Games.
The modern pentathlon has history on its side as it has been an Olympic event continously since 1912, and is viewed as having some connections to the Ancient Games.
Taekwondo, on the other hand, has only been an official Olympic sport since 2000, and it has been beset by controversies during its short time in the Olympics. There is strong sentiment among some countries for a different martial art like karate or wushu to get a chance in 2020.
The eight sports vying for the lone spot in the 2020 Games are baseball, karate, roller sports, softball, sport climbing, squash, wakeboard, and wushu. The IOC will take into consideration a sport's worldwide popularity, organization through its controlling federation, and drug-testing protocol, among other things, prior to its final decision on September 7, 2013.
Baseball/Softball:The two sports are coordinating their efforts after experiencing failure in their individual attempts for inclusion in the 2012 and 2016 Games. The sports gain high marks in organization and the potential revenue they could generate in 2020.
However, that promise could only be realized with the full cooperation of Major League Baseball to create a short break in its season and allow players to suit up for their home countries. Since this seems very unlikely for the foreseeable future, baseball's chances for eight years from now appear slim to me.
Additionally, support for softball in the Olympics again does not appear to be good among many countries comprising membership in the IOC. Softball does not have the participation globally that the IOC desires, and it has been thoroughly dominated by just a few countries over the years, namely the U.S. and Japan.
Karate: The selection of Tokyo as the host city for 2020 would undoubtedly help karate's chances for the Games, as would the elimination of taekwondo from the schedule. And Japan would benefit from increased medal opportunities with a successful bid from either baseball/softball or karate.
Squash: With up to 20 million players around the world, squash seems to be a good contender for the open spot in 2020, following strong bids for 2012 and 2016. The sport does present some problems as far as visual appeal is concerned since those spectators in attendance and TV viewers can have considerable trouble following the action.
Roller Sports:While roller sports can be exciting, there are concerns about how the sport would generate profits for the Olympics. There also seems to be some confusion over the sport's organization and exactly how to conduct the competition for the Olympics. It would be a huge surprise if roller sports were chosen for a spot in 2020.
Sport Climbing: It appears that sport climbing needs to define exactly what it would be for an Olympic sport, and to increase the global awareness and popularity of the sport before having a reasonable chance down the road of inclusion in the Summer Games.
Wakeboard: Wakeboard combines elements of surfing, snowboarding, and water skiing. It has appeal for younger fans and is gaining in popularity, but probably needs more time than a few decades as a recognized sport before it can seriously challenge for an Olympic spot.
Wushu: The Chinese martial art was demonstrated to the world at an exhibition coinciding with the Beijing Games four years ago. It is highly unlikely that the complex sport would be chosen over karate for 2020, even if taekwondo were removed from the Olympic schedule eight years from now.
Patrick Hattman covered the London Games for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. He is already looking forward to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
- Sports & Recreation
- 2020 Summer Olympic Games