By Mat Hartley
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic committee has proposed the addition of five sports to the games including baseball and karate.
Under the Olympic Agenda 2020 program, the host committee can propose one or more additional games to be included, with baseball being a home-run favourite.
Baseball has been absent from the Olympics since 2008 and Tokyo could take its chance to add the country’s most popular sport back into the games. There are currently 10 players in the MLB from the Land of the Rising Sun.
Humber Hawk outfielder Andrew Thomson said that the host’s interest in the sport could greatly affect the decision.
“I think it has a big impact. The host country has to be involved with the sport or else it would have very little impact (on the fans watching),” said Thomson.
However, Thomson said the reasons for baseball being removed last time, such as the size of the sport, still exist.
“The Olympics is a balance of individual and team sports. Too many team sports take up a lot of time and space,” Thomson said.
Another Pan Am sport that has yet to be part of the Olympics is karate.
Ron McKay is an instructor at the Silver Spirit Karate Club in Toronto and has been teaching karate for seven years. He said he also attended the Pan Am karate event this summer.
He said that traditional karate is not really a sport.
“Sports karate is more akin to boxing whilst the traditional martial art develops the inner character more. You’re using eye-contact and force of inner spirit,” McKay said.
The topic of karate being included as a sport is controversial and McKay said the differences in the art and the sport may even outweigh the similarities.
“One of the greatest differences is the elimination of ego. In a traditional martial art, gold is not the goal and your partner is not your enemy. Many traditional practitioners would prefer not to see it in the Olympics,” McKay said.
Other sports proposed include surfing, skateboarding and softball. The committee will make its final decision at the IOC meeting in Rio de Janeiro in August 2016.