Skateboarding, Sport Climbing, Surfing and Breaking were confirmed as additional sports proposed by the Paris 2024 Organising Committee. This new flexibility is part of the reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020. The decision will help to make the Olympic Games Paris 2024 fit for a post-corona world.
Here we have outlined the timeline for decisions and the organisations involved in the decision-making process for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games Programme.
The Olympic programme is the programme of all sports competitions established by the IOC for each edition of the Olympic Games.
The programme consists of two components, namely:
- The sports programme, which includes all sports for a specific edition of the Olympic Games, as determined by the IOC Session from among the sports governed by the International Federations (IFs) recognised by the IOC; e.g. Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024 will include respectively 33 and 32 sports.
- The events programme, which includes all events, as determined by the IOC Executive Board, for a specific edition of the Olympic Games; e.g. Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024 will include respectively 339 and 329 events.
The Organising Committee for a specific edition of the Olympic Games (OCOG) may propose to the IOC the inclusion, for that edition only, of one or more additional events; e.g. the Paris 2024 Organising Committee proposed to the IOC the inclusion of 12 events from four IFs recognised by the IOC, which led to the inclusion of four additional sports, namely breaking, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing.
Who Makes the proposal? OPC OCOG IFs Who reviews/approves it? IOC EB
followed by the
followed by the
followed by the
(In Consultation with the OCOG)IOC EB
Timeframe 7 years before 5-4 years before 3-5 years before
(Final IOC EB after the previous editions of the Games)
OPC: Olympic Programme Commission
IOC EB: IOC Executive Board
OCOG: Organising Committee for the Olympic Games
IFs: International Federations
The framework of the Paris 2024 event programme and athlete quotas reflects the Olympic Charter, Olympic Agenda 2020 and the New Norm.
With the change to an event-based Olympic programme through Olympic Agenda 2020, Rule 45 of the Olympic Charter states that the programme of the Olympic Games shall comprise approximately 10,500 athletes and 310 events. Olympic Agenda 2020 also clearly lays out the need to embrace gender balance, introduce innovation with a youth focus, promote sustainability, and reduce overall Games cost and complexity.
This framework of athletes and events was further reflected in the following key principles established by the IOC Executive Board on 18 July 2018 and further reiterated on 10 June 2020 upon the recommendation of the Olympic Programme Committee (these were reflected in an IOC press release on the same date):
- Reducing the overall athlete quota (including for all new sports) to 10,500;
- Achieving gender-equal participation across the Olympic Games at event and discipline level where possible;
- Prioritising new events that accommodate athletes within the sport’s existing quota allocation;
- New events only if there are existing venues.
The exceptional situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic led the IOC Executive Board to commit to further reducing the cost and complexity of hosting the Olympic Games. This underlined the importance of avoiding the growth of the Olympic programme in the current landscape, as part of the wider approach to Games optimisation and making the Games fit for a post-coronavirus world.
The timeline for establishing the Paris 2024 event programme was originally approved by the IOC Executive Board in June 2017 and targeted a final decision by the IOC Executive Board in December 2020. This approach aligned with the original dates for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 in 2020, allowing for any necessary Games-time observation, and was compliant with Rule 45 of the Olympic Charter, which specifies that the IOC EB must finalise the event programme no later than three years out from the Olympic Games.
The postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 to 2021 made it necessary for the timeline to be reviewed. The review considered the impact on and feedback from key stakeholders, including the Paris 2024 Organising Committee, IFs, NOCs and, of course, the athletes.
Following this feedback, on 10 June 2020 the IOC Executive Board decided to maintain the previously set deadline of December 2020 in order to provide certainty to all the parties involved, so that they could plan accordingly. This will help athletes to plan, prepare and secure funding from the appropriate bodies, while Paris 2024, the IFs and the NOCs will be able to advance with their venue, financial and logistical planning.
The key steps in the approved and confirmed process were the following:
- 28 February 2020 – Deadline for submissions of IF questionnaires
By this date the Olympic International Federations had to submit to the IOC any proposals for changes of events, athlete quotas and competition formats.
- March – November 2020 – IF/Paris 2024 consultation
Follow-up discussions with IFs and the Paris 2024 Organising Committee to assess the added value and the cost and complexity of the proposed new events, and to review the current programme.
- 7 December 2020 – IOC Executive Board meeting
The IOC Executive Board finalised the composition of events and athlete quotas for the Olympic Games Paris 2024, including consideration of the events in the four additional sports proposed by the Organising Committee, considering recommendations from the Olympic Programme Commission.
Athlete representatives were involved at each stage of the decision-making process, more specifically:
- IFs: subject to the internal process of each IF, the respective Athletes’ Commissions were involved in various ways in order to finalise the IF request to the IOC: e.g. participation of the Chair of the IF Athletes’ Commission in the voting on the programme of the Executive Board/Committee of the Federation; direct consultation with the corresponding IF Athletes’ Commission and/or larger athletes’ community of the corresponding sport/discipline.
- OPC: two members of the IOC Athletes’ Commission are also full members with voting rights on the Olympic Programme Commission.
- IOC EB: the Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission is also a full member with voting rights on the IOC Executive Board.
The IOC has also followed up on the requests for clarification from any IF Athletes’ Commission by organising dedicated calls in order to provide the necessary details on the process and key considerations.
The IOC received requests from 20 out of 27 Olympic IFs to either include new events or increase athlete quotas or both, giving a total of 46 requested new events, five of which were to potentially replace existing events.
It is also important to highlight that:
- These IF requests were formally put forward through the submission of the questionnaire in February 2020, prior to the emergence of the COVID-19 global pandemic; and
- Several of these requests have been further reviewed by the respective IFs due to subsequent consultations and/or IF internal approval processes.
It should also be noted that, following the communication of the IOC Executive Board to all IFs in June 2020 on how the importance of the priority to reduce cost and complexity had been accentuated through the impact of COVID-19, a few IFs decided to withdraw their requests.
All those IFs that put forward a request for additional events were also offered the opportunity to decide whether the priority would be to confirm the current event programme or consider an event replacement in order to avoid the growth of the number of events from Tokyo 2020, one of the key drivers of cost and complexity.
In reviewing the Paris 2024 event programme, the Olympic Programme Commission built on the success of the Olympic programme for Rio 2016 and the further innovation introduced for the Tokyo 2020 sports and event programme. Tokyo 2020 includes 18 new youth-focused events, while significantly increasing gender equality and reducing the overall number of athletes across the 28 sports of the initial sports programme.
Therefore, as well as achieving the principles previously established, the IOC Executive Board decided to adopt the following approach in order to ensure fair and objective measures across all IFs and sports:
1. Athlete quotas
There was a quota reduction of 286 athletes across the 28 sports of the initial sports programme from Rio 2016 to Tokyo 2020. To reach the goal of 10,500 athletes (including new sports) for Paris 2024, an additional overall reduction of 366 athletes across the Olympic programme was needed.
With a view to implementing a proportionate approach, as well as focusing on those sports that could best absorb the athlete quota reduction without significantly reducing their universality, value and standards of competition, the IOC Executive Board established the following principles based on a recommendation from the Olympic Programme Commission:
- No increase of athlete quotas across any of the 28 sports from Tokyo 2020
- The athlete quota reduction shall be proportionate and based on the following considerations:
- Existing quota allocation per sport/discipline/event
- Previous reduction of quota from Rio 2016 to Tokyo 2020
- Flexibility around quota adjustments of individual vs team sports
- IOC Executive Board considerations (weightlifting and boxing)
2. Reaching 50 per cent female participation
The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be the first gender-equal Olympic Games, reaching a level of 48.8 per cent female participation across the overall programme and achieving full gender balance in 21 out of the 28 Olympic sports on the initial sports programme.
The principle set by the IOC Executive Board for the Olympic Games Paris 2024 to achieve 50 per cent female participation across the Olympic Games provided an additional boost for the remaining seven IFs to foster or reach full gender equality at event and discipline level where possible.
3. Event numbers and athlete-first approach
The overall number of events and the existing number of events per sport are a key element in avoiding the growth of the Olympic programme in the current landscape. Consideration had to be given to avoiding any growth in the number of events on the Olympic programme, while noting the positive value several of the proposed new events may bring to future Olympic Games.
In addition, in a year of uncertainty, the IOC Executive Board considered the opportunity to provide further reassurance to the athletes during this difficult time, consistent with the “athlete-first” approach of the Paris 2024 Organising Committee. This was done by focusing on extending the Olympic status of the vast majority of the current events, which would in turn facilitate athlete planning and funding for the upcoming Olympic cycle (noting the short period between Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024, including the fact that the Paris 2024 qualification period is likely to start not long after Tokyo 2020).
In view of this, the IOC Executive Board decided the following (based on a recommendation by the Olympic Programme Commission):
- No increase in the overall number of events from Tokyo 2020 to Paris 2024
- No increase in the number of events across any of the 28 sports from Tokyo 2020
- Apply with fairness and consistency across sports
In cases where events were swapped, the IOC Executive Board duly considered the impact on the athletes, understanding that any changes to an Olympic event programme bring new opportunities to one group of athletes while being less favourable to others. Across all these difficult decisions, the assurance of a pathway towards Olympic qualification and medal opportunities was a key consideration in order to protect the interests of those athletes impacted.
It should be noted that any event swap was ultimately linked to the formal requests put forward by the respective IFs, which in turn resulted from the internal decision-making process.
4. Paris 2024 vision and continued innovation
In finalising the event programme, the IOC Executive Board was building on the success of the Olympic programme for Rio 2016 and the further innovation introduced for the Tokyo 2020 sports and event programme. This embraces Paris 2024’s vision of youth-focused and socially responsible Games, and also recognises the innovations and savings opportunities that IFs have introduced to their own competitions and events in recent years.
It is within this context that the IOC Executive Board reviewed the IF requests for changes to the Paris 2024 event programme. The continued focus on cost-effective innovations in venue design, competition format, event presentation and engagement opportunities (both physical and digital) will continue to be explored at every step, in line with the collective vision of the IOC, Paris 2024, OBS and the IFs.
The Paris 2024 event programme achieves the following objectives:
- Exactly 50 per cent male and female participation, following on from the gender equality already achieved for Tokyo 2020, which will have 48.8 per cent female participation.
- Growth of mixed gender events, from 18 to 22, compared to Tokyo 2020.
- Skateboarding, sport climbing, surfing and breaking confirmed as additional sports based on a proposal by Paris 2024. Breaking will make its Olympic debut.
- Reduction in the overall athlete quota (including all new sports) to exactly 10,500.
- Reduction in the overall number of events, with a final programme of 329 events.
In addition to the above, the following events changes are recommended in order to allow the inclusion of eight new events on the programme:
- Athletics: 1 new mixed gender event (format TBD) to replace the men’s 50km race walk.
- Boxing: 1 new women’s weight class to replace 1 men’s weight class.
- Canoe: 2 extreme canoe slalom events (1M/1W) to replace 2 canoe sprint events (1M/1W).
- Sailing: 3 new mixed events in sailing, including mixed kiteboarding and mixed 470 – two-person dinghy, to replace 1 men’s and 1 women’s 470 – two-person dinghy events and the men’s Finn – one-person dinghy.
- Shooting: 1 new skeet mixed team event in shooting to replace the trap mixed team event.
The summary table below highlights the differences from Tokyo 2020:
Tokyo 2020 Paris 2024 Diff
W Mix TOT M W Mix
5421 5197 – 10618 5134 5134 – 10268
264 210 – 474 116 116 – 232
5685 5407 – 11092 5250 5250 – 10500
156 147 18 321 150 145 22 317
9 9 – 18 6 6 – 12
TOTAL 165 156 18 339 156 151 22 329
The following decisions need to be finalised as per the timeline indicated:
1. Finalisation of pending events
The removal of the men’s 50km race walk event offered World Athletics the opportunity to replace this event with a new mixed gender event, which allowed it to reach full gender equality while maintaining the same number of athletics events as for the Tokyo 2020 event programme (48).
This replacement mixed gender event could be either a race walk or track event, as long as the event and competition format fit within the existing venue/courses.
The IOC Executive Board recognised the need to provide the necessary additional time for World Athletics to finalise its proposal for a mixed gender event that would meet the above-mentioned requirements, and therefore confirmed a window to confirm the specific event proposal by 31 May 2021.
The IOC EB supported the introduction of the new mixed kiteboarding and the mixed 470 – two-person dinghy events but decided to further review the mixed offshore event in order to properly assess the key considerations around the cost, safety and security of the athletes. The specific event proposal will be decided by 31 May 2021.
2. Finalisation of the competition formats
The IOC Executive Board recognised the challenges posed by COVID-19 in testing the new competition formats proposed for modern pentathlon and shooting by the respective IFs and confirmed a window to finalise such proposals by 31 May 2021.
3. Finalisation of the weight classes
The specific weight classes for boxing and weightlifting will be finalised by the IOC Executive Board in the fourth quarter of 2021.
The Olympic programme is developed in thorough consultation with the Paris 2024 Organising Committee, International Federations (IFs), National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and athletes, and finalised by the IOC Executive Board upon the recommendations of the Olympic Programme Commission.
As a consequence of the exceptional situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the IOC and Paris 2024 have committed to reducing the cost and complexity of the Olympic Games.
This priority, in line with Olympic Agenda 2020, was communicated to the IFs in June 2020 when the IOC EB reiterated the vital importance of reducing the cost and complexity of hosting the Olympic Games.