- Title: "Old sports need to adapt" surfing chief ahead of Olympics debut
- Date: 7th October 2019
- Summary: SHIDASHITA BEACH, CHIBA PREFECTURE, JAPAN (FILE - JULY 18, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF SURFERS SURFING
- Embargoed: 21st October 2019 12:28
- Keywords: Surfing Japan Olympics test Aguerre 2020
- Location: MIYAZAKI AND SHIDASHITA BEACH, CHIBA PREFECTURE, JAPAN
- City: MIYAZAKI AND SHIDASHITA BEACH, CHIBA PREFECTURE, JAPAN
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Sport,Surfing
- Reuters ID: LVA00AB0DJ0VZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: As "cool" sports such as surfing, skateboarding and climbing prepare to make their Olympic debut in Tokyo, the president of surfing's governing body has told Reuters that more traditional sports must adapt or face being dropped from the Games.
Karate will also make its debut in 2020 while baseball and softball return to the program after a 12-year absence.
The additions are part of the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) bid to reach a younger audience and International Surfing Association (ISU) President Fernando Aguerre said the impact of the changes could not be overstated.
"It will be the single most important program change in decades, probably ever," Aguerre told Reuters at last month's ISA World Surfing Games in southern Japan.
Instead of leaning on the experience of established Olympic sports in preparing for Tokyo 2020, Aguerre thinks some of the traditional disciplines could learn a thing or two from surfing, which has also been provisionally included in the program for Paris 2024.
Some sports, including badminton, taekwondo and modern pentathlon, have come under pressure to justify their inclusion in the Olympics while question marks hang over the futures of weightlifting and boxing due to financial irregularities and doping scandals.
Aguerre pushed hard for an Olympic slot after becoming ISA chief in 1994 but the seeds were sown 80 years earlier when surfing pioneer and Olympic gold medallist swimmer Duke Kahanamoku first proposed its inclusion at Stockholm 1912.
Yet it was not until Argentine Aguerre had a discussion with then-IOC presidential candidate Bach in 2013 that things began to gain traction.
Three years later in Rio de Janeiro Aguerre finally got the news he had been hoping for.
(Production: Jack Tarrant)
- Copyright Holder: FILE REUTERS (CAN SELL)
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