Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) expressed its support to add surfing to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

If the recommendations are formally approved at the 129th IOC meeting in Rio de Janeiro in August, surfing would join karate, skateboarding, sports climbing, and baseball/softball on the 2020 Olympic program.

The IOC’s strategic roadmap for the future is to encourage innovation at the Olympics. Olympic Agenda 2020 gives host cities like Tokyo the option of suggesting new sports for inclusion in their edition of the Games. But the host city selections are not binding on future Games hosts.

The inclusion of the new sports would add 18 events and 474 athletes to the Tokyo Olympics without impacting existing sports. The package promotes gender equality, with each of the five sports having equal numbers of men and women, while also focusing on innovative and exciting sports for Japan and the wider international community.

But why we especially like the addition of surfing is because it opens up additional opportunities for the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim.

The current plans for the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim at the 2020 is to hold the 10 km marathon swim in Odaiba Marine Park which is a shoreline park within Tokyo Bay. While the venue is easy to get to fans, and the swimmers will swim amid the skyscrapers of Tokyo, the water quality is questionable and is typical of any urban marine environment.

But surfing may be located in Niijima, a small beautiful tropical island, south of Tokyo. That may allow the possibility of also staging the 10 km marathon swim in a tropical rough water ocean venue.

The possibilities are intriguing.

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