More Olympic events with fewer barriers to entry: three sports to deliver new winners Los Angeles 20
The Tokyo Games inclusion of skateboarding, 3x3, BMX and other events based on more accessible interaction with the built and natural environment rather than specialist facilities should be one of this events' lasting legacy. Most sports started this way, but arguably many have grown removed from the 'grassroots'.
Even as 68% of the world's population will soon live in cities, few of the children born there will ever have the opportunity to access a velodrome, a stable, a links or even a decent sports hall.
With the addition breaking, a sport that requires no equipment or facilities Paris2024 declared the sports it has chosen to add to its Olympic calendar "are easy to take up and participants form communities that are very active on social media. Over the next five years, the inclusion of these events in the Olympic Games will help inspire millions of children to take up sport." A step in the right direction, but the 2019 Breaking World Championship delivered victors with national anthems you've become familiar with over the last fortnight.
My challenge to Los Angeles and Brisbane is to pick an additional sport with minimal restrictions to entry, AND one currently dominated by nations whose flag is a less frequent flyer at the Games. That way we can not only inspire children around the world... those children will have the ability to step outside their door and act on that inspiration.
Here's my first three suggestions... I'd love to hear yours.
Sepak Takraw - A regular sight in the streets and villages of the South East Asian peninsula, Thailand and Malaysia would start as favourites to contest an Olympic final in this acrobatic court sport sometimes undersold as foot-volleyball. Watch this and you'll see why it would make every Olympic highlights reel.
Kabaddi - needs no facilties bar a few floor markings. The game from the Indian sub-continent picked up a cult following among early risers in the 1980s, recently had the Indian Premier League treatment with new rules and format changes designed to make Pro League Kabbadi more appealing to a television audience.
Nzango - neither the Republic, nor the Democratic Republic, of the Congo have ever won an Olympic medal and with this mixture of dance, singing, gymnastics and choreography their female athletes would start favourites to change that state of affairs.