Extreme sports gain legitimacy through Olympic inclusion

Japan Times -- Jan 05
When Yuto Horigome is riding his skateboard with a goofy stance, grinding down rails and executing kick-flips and nollies in Tokyo this summer, he’ll be doing it in hopes of winning a gold medal.

Not X Games gold, Olympic gold.

Yes, skateboarding will be on the Olympic program when the postponed 2020 Games kick off in July. So will surfing, and sport climbing too. As unlikely as it may seem, the traditional and staid Olympics will be getting a little more extreme in Tokyo.

Extreme sports may not be the first thing that springs to mind for most people when they think of the Olympics, but the two worlds are getting a little closer with the addition of three sports that are more familiar to X Games devotees than those who mainly follow competition around the rings.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is likely hoping these sports will help it make inroads with the coveted youth demographic, as part of its efforts to get a younger audience hooked on the Olympic Games.

“We want to take sport to the youth,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in 2016, when skateboarding, surfing and sport climbing were added to the program for Tokyo 2020 along with baseball, softball and karate. “With the many options that young people have, we cannot expect anymore that they will come automatically to us.”

- Japan Times