Tokyo Olympics 2020: IOC director Christophe Dubi says inclusion of skateboarding, surfing part of bid to attract youth

  • IOC plans for the inclusion of new Olympic sports skateboarding, surfing and sports climbing at Tokyo 2020, and the likely introduction of breakdancing at Paris 2024

  • Tokyo Bay's urban festival will give fans a chance to try their hand at sports such as BMX cycling, skateboarding and 3x3 basketball at venues also being used for the Games

  • Organisers want to create a party atmosphere for sports fans who might have missed out on tickets for the elite sporting events at nearby venues

Tokyo: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) hopes that Tokyo 2020’s “urban festival”, which will offer fans the chance to try out Olympic sports, will help the governing body remain relevant and increase long-term youth engagement with the Games.

In July, Games organisers announced plans to develop a Waterfront City in Tokyo Bay, involving demonstration events and fan participation in sports, as well as concerts and other performances during next year’s sporting showpiece.

 Tokyo Olympics 2020: IOC director Christophe Dubi says inclusion of skateboarding, surfing part of bid to attract youth

Japan will host the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics from July 24 to August 9 next year. AFP

The plans, which mirror a similar idea tested at last year’s Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, are part of the IOC’s wider aim of increasing its appeal to younger sports fans.

“We have made a point to take sports to youth,” IOC Games Director Christophe Dubi told Reuters by telephone. “We want to make sure the Olympic programme remains relevant."

“We have to bring those sports to youth as we cannot expect that they come naturally to the offer that we have.”

The inclusion of new Olympic sports skateboarding, surfing and sports climbing at Tokyo 2020, and the likely introduction of breakdancing at Paris 2024, is part of an IOC bid to attract a younger, more urban audience.

“The Olympic programme is growing for a good reason — to remain relevant. Relevant to youth and relevant to sports participation overall,” Dubi said. “The sports programme has to reflect what is happening in playgrounds, on fields of play every single weekend."

“That is what we are trying to do with the evolution of the sports programme.”

Although not all details have been finalised, Tokyo Bay’s urban festival will give fans a chance to try their hand at sports such as BMX cycling, skateboarding and 3x3 basketball at venues also being used for the Games.

Organisers want to create a party atmosphere for sports fans who might have missed out on tickets for the elite sporting events at nearby venues. “That is the great thing about the playground, the urban festival; not only will the spectators go and cheer and support, they will also be active participants,” Dubi said.

Dubi said he believed the main attraction of the festival would be the chance for fans to try out the Olympic venues for themselves and to meet the athletes they have seen winning medals just days before.

“Imagine what it will be like for a youngster to ride a BMX and then meet some of the icons (of the sport). It is a once in a lifetime experience.”

Updated Date: Sep 11, 2019 11:09:55 IST