TOKYO (AP) — Five sports, including surfing and skateboarding, moved a step closer to being included in the Tokyo 2020 Games after being described as “a dynamic and exciting” package by the IOC.
Skateboarding, surfing, karate, sports climbing and baseball/softball were all recommended for inclusion by the IOC. An Olympic program commission report released on Thursday said the five are a blend of the traditional and emerging, youth-focused events, and all have international and local appeal.
The IOC will make the final decision on the five sports in Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 3, two days before the opening ceremony of the 2016 Games.
In assessing the case for inclusion, the commission considered gender equality, youth appeal and their legacy value.
The inclusion of the new sports would add 18 events and 474 athletes, with equal numbers of women and men for all sports except baseball/softball, because softball teams have 15 players, whilst baseball teams have 24.
The report said the new sports in Tokyo would not threaten the inclusion of existing Olympic sports or be binding on future host cities.
Baseball and softball, which are making a combined bid to return, were dropped after the 2008 Beijing Games. Their hopes for inclusion are boosted by their popularity in Japan.
No. 1 Iga Swiatek of Poland is favored to claim a third French Open title, a year after beating American Coco Gauff in the final. She bids to join Serena Williams and Justine Henin as the lone women to win the French Open three or more times since 2000.
Two Americans are ranked in the top six in the world — No. 3 Jessica Pegula and Gauff.
The last American to win a major singles title was Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought matches the longest in history (since 1877) for American men and women combined.
But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.
Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.
Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They could meet in the semifinals.
Russian Daniil Medvedev, the No. 2 seed, was upset in the first round by 172nd-ranked Brazilian qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild. It marked the first time a men’s top-two seed lost in the first round of any major since 2003 Wimbledon (Ivo Karlovic d. Lleyton Hewitt).
No. 9 Taylor Fritz, No. 12 Frances Tiafoe and No. 16 Tommy Paul are the highest-seeded Americans, all looking to become the first U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals since Andre Agassi in 2003. Since then, five different American men combined to make the fourth round on eight occasions.