We know breakdancing, competitive climbing, surfing and skateboarding made it into the Paris 2024 Games – and we know that karate, baseball and softball – all of which are included in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo – were left out (along with a number of other sports).
Since that time, there has been a backlash, with many of the organizational governing bodies claiming a lack of transparency in the decision-making process. And predictably, they’re doing their part to voice their objections, both through formal meetings and grassroots campaigns. Event owners in the U.S. may see aspects of the grassroots activities permeating their own events.
Baseball and Softball: Almost immediately after being shut out of Paris, the World Baseball/Softball Confederation’s president, Riccardo Fraccari, held a meeting with the IOC’s Thomas Bach to discuss the matter.
The pitch: Put the sports back in.
The results: Denied.
Plan for the future: Fraccari reported that following his meeting with Bach, he would encourage the sports to work harder to modernize and demonstrate that they have an international appeal. (It is widely anticipated the sports will be showcased again in 2028 in Los Angeles, but whether they remain in after that will depend upon the host country for 2032 and beyond.).
Karate: Karate, which won the right to be showcased in Japan, took the Paris rejection hard. Almost immediately, a digital campaign was launched, hashtagged #Karate2024. Additionally, more than 500 athletes performed a show of unity at the European Karate Championships in Guadalajara to ask Paris 2024 and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to include their sport at the Olympic Games in the French capital.
The effort: World Karate Federation President Antonio Espinós held talks with Paris 2024 organizers, accompanied by Francis Didier, President of the French Karate Federation (FFK), and Toshi Nagura, secretary general of the WKF. The purpose of the meeting was to convince the Paris Organizing Committee that karate should be included.
The outcome: Having not been chosen by Paris 2024, karate’s inclusion at the Games is not likely, but the WKF is refusing to give up. Count on additional grassroots campaigns.
Chess: Having been knocked out of consideration for Paris, FIDE (the international governing body of chess) has moved on. Rather than spending time on grassroots or social media campaigns, the sport is targeting inclusion at continental and youth Games.
"FIDE acknowledges the decision of the Paris 2024 Organizing Committee and will continue to aim at reaching full recognition of chess in all countries," a statement said.
Chess has appeared at events including the Asian Games and African Games.
Squash: Always a bridesmaid and never a bride? Squash has been there, done that. Squash is the bridesmaid in the bubble-gum-pink taffeta dress and the dyed-to-match shoes, clutching the silk bouquet and grinding her teeth while listening to Karen Carpenter warbling “White Lace and Promises” during the first dance. And it’s her fourth time as an also-ran.
Squash has been rejected for London 2012, Rio 2016, Tokyo 2020 and now, Paris 2024. So far, no word from the squash camp as to next moves.
Event owners should be ready for this summer, when all rejected sports (and there were plenty of others) will start winding up the spin cycle for Los Angeles.