The International Olympic Committee has announced the inclusion of 4 more events to the next Winter Olympic Games, with a proposal process still open for additional events to be added to the 2020 Summer Games.
The IOC announced today that four new events would join the 2018 PyeongChangWinter Olympics, while one existing event would be dropped.
The new events are a mixed doubles curling event, a mass start speed skating race, a team Alpine skiing nations event and big-air contest in the snowboarding class.
The IOC also removed the snowboarding parallel slalom event to make room for the big air contest.
In addition (and more important to the sport of swimming), the IOC’s Executive Board approved a list of 35 criteria that will be used to decide on any proposals to add events to the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.
The Tokyo Games organizers opened their doors last month for proposals to add events to the 2020 Games, and will officially select their proposed event lineup this coming September. The IOC will then deliberate on the proposals and decide which new events will be added at a meeting during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Swimming already gives out 34 total Olympic gold medals, the second-most of any sport behind Athletics (track & field) in the Olympic lineup. That means it’s fairly unlikely that any new swimming events would be added, but there are a number of events waiting in the wings for an Olympic slot.
There are always rumblings about the 50 fly, 50 back and 50 breast, which are already included in the FINA World Championships and have become highly-competitive events.
In the push for gender equality within sports, it seems we could eventually be seeing the women’s 1500 free added to the Olympic lineup, if only as a replacement for the 800. Currently, men swim the 1500 at the Olympics, but women only compete in the 800.
Then, too, FINA recently started compiling world records in mixed-gender relays, and now includes those events at the World Championships. Adding a mixed relay or two would follow the precedent of the Winter Olympic additions – two of those new events were mixed-gender (mixed curling doubles and the Alpine skiing nations team event).
The 35 selection criteria range from categories like “value added to the Olympic movement” to “popularity” to “business model.” The new snowboarding event is a good example of what the Olympic movement is looking for. The IOC’s announcement listed the following factors that went into adding their recent winter sports: “added value; youth appeal; attractiveness for TV, media and the general public; gender equality; minimum impact on the number of events and/or quotas; and infrastructure and operational cost and complexity.”
The IOC release also noted that the new event program for the Winter Games includes a record number of events for females and a likely increase in the total number of women competing in the Games.
You can find the full list of the 35 selection criteria here.