Olympics Shift: IOC Doubles Number Of Mixed-Gender Events, Adds 5 Sports

Judith Bessette
Junho 10, 2017

"We've been pushing for the Mixed Relays to be included in the Programme for quite a long time, as it is an event that gives the sport something very important: a sense of team building".

Commenting on the decision, IOC President Thomas Bach said "The fascinating new events that we approved today, together with the five new sports that were added to the Tokyo 2020 program previous year, represent a step-change in the Olympic program". That brings the aquatics total to 49, including subcategories swimming, marathon swimming, diving, synchronized swimming and water polo.

Fiji's Osea Kolinisau on his way to scoring in the first ever sevens Olympic final in Rio.

FINA was unable to persuade the International Olympic Committee that high diving, another discipline in the stable of aquatic sports with very modest participation numbers, is a sport worth adding to the Games.

But these new events, coupled with the five new sports announced a year ago, mean some sports have had their athlete quotas dramatically reduced.

The changes are part of a plan to attract younger viewers.

Track cycling will add mens and womens madison races in 2020 — in a velodrome about 130 kilometres (80 miles) outside Tokyo — and swimming will add mens 800-meter freestyle and womens 1,500 freestyle. Both cities seek to follow London as three-time Olympic hosts.

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The new sports will add 18 events and 474 athletes, and further the IOC's goal to establish gender balance in both athletes and events. "It is an enormous and deeply humbling honour for FINA to have reached the very top". Tokyo 2020's balanced proposal fulfills all of the goals of the Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendation that allowed it.

"The addition of three events for Tokyo 2020 means FINA is well positioned to continue its leadership in terms of broadcast demand and digital interest", continued President Maglione.

The vote at the regular IOC Session in Lima would also likely go ahead as planned, either with members voting on their preferred hosts on one ballot sheet, or by voting on a proposed preferred order decided in advance.

"FINA is proud to be a sport that cherishes fundamental Olympic values", added President Maglione.

"We had a large number of requests from global federations", McConnell said.

The new Olympic swimming events, as well as water polo and the full range of FINA disciplines will be showcased next month during the 17th FINA World Championships in Budapest.

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