The dust has barely settled on the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, and already organisers are looking to Paris in 2024 and Los Angeles four years later than that.
Alongside the core sports that form part of the schedule for each edition of the Games, new ones can be added to reflect the changing tastes of a global audience. The aim at Paris 2024 is to be more inclusive and attract the interest of a younger crowd – hence why breakdancing has been added to the calendar (more on that shortly).
As far as 2028 is concerned, it’s very early days in the planning phase but already the International Cricket Council (ICC) has thrown their hat into the ring.
Cricket Could Make a Return
They believe that now is the time for cricket to be reinstated to the Olympic schedule – incredibly, the sport has not featured at the Games since 1900. And the ICC will be lobbying the Los Angeles organisers to include a special T10 format of cricket on their dossier of potential sports to be presented to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at a later date.
Incredibly popular around the world, cricket is enjoying growing traction in the United States as well, and IOC chairman Greg Barclay believes that Los Angeles would be the perfect destination for the sport’s return to the Games.
“Our sport is united behind this bid, and we see the Olympics as a part of cricket’s long-term future,” he said. “We have more than a billion fans globally, and almost 90% of them want to see cricket at the Olympics.”
Sampling the Local Fare
There has been a trend for Games hosts to pick out sports that might appeal to a ‘local’ crowd the most, with martial arts very much on the menu in Tokyo before being dumped by Paris – karate will not be on the agenda in 2024, for example.
For the LA organisers, there will be a demand to reinstate baseball and potentially softball (both also canned by Paris), while skateboarding and surfing – a no-brainer given the waves in California – are expected to be kept on the Olympic schedule.
And Then It Gets Weird
There’s other, even more left-field options too. Sports like ultimate frisbee and flag football are both popular, and they could be incorporated as a way to identify with a younger generation that perhaps won’t tune in for track and field events, swimming and the like.
The Paris Games will have one rather eyebrow-raising addition – breakdancing, which some might question given that you could argue it’s not a sport per se. Sport climbing and surfing are also additions to the Olympic rota that will be introduced in 2024, but it’s ‘breaking’ that will ruffle the most feathers amongst traditionalists and athletic purists.
But the Olympics are changing, there’s no doubt about that, and the head of the Paris organising committee – Tony Estanguet – has revealed that’s very much a deliberate ploy. “The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is keen to set a new standard for inclusive, gender-balanced and youth-centred games,” he said.
“Paris 2024 submitted its proposal to the IOC to integrate four new sports [breakdancing, surfing, sport climbing and skateboarding, which was actually introduced in Tokyo] that are closely associated with youth and reward creativity and athletic performance.
“All four are easy to take up and participants form communities that are very active on social media.”
The Olympics have certainly come a long way since the last time cricket was on the agenda way back in 1900….