Int'l Surfing President Says Olympic Sports Must Adapt Or Be Dropped
Int'l Surfing Association President Fernando Aguerre said that more traditional sports "must adapt or face being dropped" from the Olympics, as "'cool' sports such as surfing, skateboarding and climbing prepare to make their Olympic debut in Tokyo," according to Jack Tarrant of REUTERS. Karate also will "make its debut" next year, while baseball and softball will "return to the program after a 12-year absence." The additions are part of the IOC's "bid to reach a younger audience." Aguerre said that the "impact of the changes could not be overstated." He added, "In one giant stroke they add the three environments; the outdoor, the ocean and urban. It will be the single most important program change in decades, probably ever." Instead of "leaning on the experience of established Olympic sports" in preparing for the Tokyo Games, Aguerre believes some of the "traditional disciplines could learn a thing or two from surfing." Aguerre: "The old sports need to adapt. (IOC) President (Thomas) Bach is very clear about that from the first speech he made when he accepted his election he said, 'change or be changed.'" Tarrant notes some sports like badminton, taekwondo and modern pentathlon have "come under pressure to justify their inclusion in the Olympics while question marks hang over the futures of weightlifting and boxing due to financial irregularities and doping scandals" (REUTERS, 10/9).