Though the next Summer Olympics are a long time away to even think about (more than 1,130 days, but who’s counting?), groundbreaking news continues to be released in preparation for the journey to Japan. The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recently announced that it intends to have more women partaking in the Tokyo 2020 Games.
In an effort to reach a 50% gender balance at the Olympic Games in both athletes and events, the IOC plans to have 48.8% of women participate, according to its June 2017 estimate and its Olympic Agenda 2020. This would be a record high and a close 5% increase from the London 2012 Games, which recorded that 44.2% of women participated. Last year’s Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, recorded 45.6% of women participation.
The executive board also announced that there will now be 18 mixed-gender team events, compared to nine in last year’s Olympics, after recommendations from the Olympic Programme Commission. Some of these recently approved and announced events include a 4x100m mixed relay in swimming, a 4x400m mixed relay in track and field, mixed doubles in table tennis, a mixed team event in archery, a mixed team event in judo and a mixed team relay in the triathlon.
While the number of female athletes will increase, there will be a reduction in athlete quotas, as per the IOC’s Olympic Agenda. The Tokyo 2020 Olympics will lose 285 athletes – 105 from the various track and field-related events alone. Five sports have also been added: surfing, sport climbing, skate boarding, karate, and baseball and softball (both were voted to return after they were dropped from the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympics).
“The fascinating new events that we approved today, together with the five new sports that were added to the Tokyo 2020 programme last year, represent a step-change in the Olympic programme,” said IOC President Thomas Bach during the June 9 press conference in Lausanne, Switzerland. “I am delighted that the Olympic Games in Tokyo will be more youthful, more urban and will include more women.”
Tokyo was announced the host city winner for the Summer 2020 Games in September 2013, beating out Candidate Cities Istanbul and Madrid after two rounds of voting.
“All three cities were capable of staging excellent Games in 2020, but in the end it was Tokyo’s bid that resonated the most with the IOC membership, inviting us to ‘discover tomorrow’ by delivering a well-organized and safe Games that will reinforce the Olympic values while demonstrating the benefits of sport to a new generation,” said then-IOC President Jacques Rogge during the reveal.
Related Facts: Team USA's Female Athletes - Rio 2016 Olympics Edition
- 294 women made up 53% of Team USA (264 men at 47%; 558 athletes total). This marked the most women who competed for any nation at a single Games and topped the previous record of 289 for Team China in the Beijing 2008 Summer Games. For only the second time in history, the U.S. Olympic roster featured more female athletes than male. (Team USA Fun Facts)
- American women, who for the second straight Olympics, set a record with 61 medals, exceeding its previous high of 58 from the London 2012 Summer Games. (Team USA Concludes Record-Breaking Rio 2016 Olympic Games With 121 Medals, 46 Golds)
- If the American women competed as their own country, they would have ranked fourth among all nations in the overall medal chart and tied for second in the gold-medal count with 27. (Team USA Concludes Record-Breaking Rio 2016 Olympic Games With 121 Medals, 46 Golds)
- Gwen Jorgensen and Helen Maroulis gave the U.S its first gold medals in triathlon and women’s wrestling. (Team USA Concludes Record-Breaking Rio 2016 Olympic Games With 121 Medals, 46 Golds)
- Kim Rhode (shooting) became the first woman from any nation to win a medal at six straight Olympic Games. (Team USA Concludes Record-Breaking Rio 2016 Olympic Games With 121 Medals, 46 Golds)
- Kayla Harrison (judo) and Claressa Shields (boxing) became the first Americans in their respective sports to defend their Olympic titles. (Team USA Concludes Record-Breaking Rio 2016 Olympic Games With 121 Medals, 46 Golds)
- Kerri Walsh Jennings (beach volleyball) and Venus Williams (tennis) became the most decorated Olympic female athletes with four and five medals respectively in their sport. (Team USA Concludes Record-Breaking Rio 2016 Olympic Games With 121 Medals, 46 Golds)
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Erin DeGregorio is a student pursuing an M.A. Degree in Journalism at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism (New York, New York). She has a focus in arts and culture reporting and will be graduating in December 2017. Her portfolio of select clips can be viewed here.