Sports that may soon be Olympic events include bowling, climbing, karate, and surfing

To tear it up in Tokyo, he’ll have to be okay with artificial waves.
To tear it up in Tokyo, he’ll have to be okay with artificial waves.
Image: AP/Leo Correa
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The organizers of the 2020 summer Olympic Games in Tokyo are considering eight proposals for new athletic events: Baseball (and softball), bowling, karate, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, surfing, and wushu—also known as kung fu.

The shortlist for consideration, announced today (June 22), was based on applications from 26 international sport federations, many of which have applied for inclusion in previous Olympic tournaments. Baseball and softball were standard official events in the summer olympics from 1992 to 2008, when they were voted out by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

A set of reforms approved by the IOC last year allows host cities to propose bringing in new or additional sports for their editions of the games. After narrowing the list of possible additions from 26 to eight, the Tokyo organizing committee will now vet more thorough proposals for each sport on the shortlist. In September, the Tokyo organizers will bring one or more of these proposals to the IOC.

The most likely candidates are thought to be men’s baseball and women’s softball, which are independently popular in Japan. Surfing is unlikely to happen, since an Olympic surfing competition would have to be held in an artificial wave pool instead of on the open ocean—for the sake of fairness—and building such a facility might be prohibitively expensive for Tokyo, which is trying to keep costs down, in part by using existing venues for the 2020 games instead of building new ones.