Tokyo 2020 Olympics to feature more women athletes, increase in mixed-gender events
TOKYO — The Tokyo 2020 Games plan to improve gender equality, mixed events, and an urban/youth outreach.
After adding five sports to the Olympics last year (Surf, Sport Climbing, Baseball/Softball, Skateboard, and Karate), the International Olympic Committee Executive Board voted Friday to create 15 new events as well for Tokyo 2020. The IOC hoped the new events would aid gender equality in the games by providing more opportunities for gender-mixed categories.
With these additions, Tokyo 2020 will feature 18 mixed-gender events, compared to just nine at the Rio 2016 Games, as well as adding events for both genders.
The additions drawing the most notice are the 1,500 meter women's swimming event, which has been requested for quite a while, the 4x100 meter Swimming Medley Mixed Relay, and the 3 vs. 3 Basketball (for men and women).
On top of adding female and mixed events, the IOC also worked to reduce athlete numbers to prevent over-saturation and transfer numbers from the men's side to the women's side, meaning there will be fewer male competitors and more female competitors than in previous games.
Certain sports such as rowing, shooting and sailing will eliminate certain male events in exchange for female events in order to achieve gender balance, while boxing and judo will transfer some male Olympic spots to females in order to improve participation of women.
The 2020 Games is estimated to have a 48.8 percent participation of women, which would mean it is the most gender balanced Olympic Games in history for athletes and events. This number is up 3.2 percent compared to Rio 2016's 45.6 percent female participation, and almost five percentage points above London 2012's 44.2 percent.
However, gender balancing was not the only goal of this new IOC Tokyo program, with listed objectives including "youth-focused innovations and greater urban appeal."
To garner that greater urban and youth appeal, the IOC added the 3x3 basketball, skateboarding, BMX freestyle, and sport climbing events. The basketball 3x3 had already shown success at the 2010 and 2014 Youth Olympic Games, while the other three were proposed last year by the Tokyo 2020 committee.
"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," said the IOC President Thomas Bach. "I am delighted that the Olympic Games in Tokyo will be more youthful, more urban and will include more women.”
The decisions made may be an evolutionary milestone in the Olympics with the move for women involvement and urban appeal.
The entire IOC press release is available on the Olympic website here.