Five sports, including surfing and skateboarding, moved a step closer to being included in the Tokyo 2020 Games after being described as "a dynamic and exciting" package by the International Olympic Committee, which will rule on the decision to include them this week.
Skateboarding, surfing, karate, sports climbing and baseball/softball were all recommended for inclusion by the IOC. An Olympic program commission report released on Friday said the five are a blend of the traditional and emerging, youth-focused events, and all have international and local appeal.
"It’s probably a kid's dream, you grow up watching every four years … it would be cool to be a part of it," Jesse Mendes, a professional surfer said.
Skateboarding icon Tony Hawk thinks his sport would give the Olympics a big life if it’s added to the 2020 Games.
"There are more participants in skateboarding than most sports so I feel like they (the Olympics) need our credibility and they need our excitement level in their Summer Games," Hawk said.
With skateboarding already thriving outside the Olympics, Hawk said the sport could catch on with worldwide viewers as snowboarding did in the Winter Olympics when Shaun White started to compete in the halfpipe event.
The inclusion of the new sports would add 18 events and 474 athletes, with equal numbers of women and men for all sports except baseball/softball, because softball teams have 15 players, whilst baseball teams have 24.
Baseball and softball, which are making a combined bid to return, were dropped after the 2008 Beijing Games. Their hopes for inclusion are boosted by their popularity in Japan.
The report said the new sports in Tokyo would not threaten the inclusion of existing Olympic sports or be binding on future host cities.
The IOC was scheduled to make the final decision on the five sports in Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 3, two days before the opening ceremony of the 2016 Games.
Marin Austin contributed to this report.