World Bowling Applies for Spot in 2020 Olympics
Even though they’re still five years away, preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are already underway. Part of those preparations include decisions on which sporting events will get to be part of the official games. 26 sports federations have applied for inclusion in the 2020 games, including Tenpin Bowling. Other sports federations vying for inclusion include baseball/softball, polo, racquetball, chess, sumo, and surfing.
All of the federations that have applied for inclusion are officially recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Of the sports organizations recognized by the IOC, only 7 chose not to apply for admission to the Tokyo Games before the June 8th deadline. Those that applied will be considered by the Tokyo Organizing Committee, which will sort through the applicants to create a shortlist of candidates.
According to experts on the Olympics selection process, the event organizers have three criteria by which they determine which sports will be included on the shortlist:
- Promotion of the ideals of the Olympics and support of affiliated youth initiatives.
- Ability to engage the Japanese and international audiences, thus adding value to the games.
- A fair and open selection procedure.
A Fair Shot
Given the selection procedure, the state of the bowling federation, and other factors, bowling stands a good chance of being included in the 2020 Olympic Games. As a sport, bowling meets all of the criteria that is usually considered by the Olympic committee, including gender equity, universality, and youth appeal (over 100 countries have organized youth bowling programs).
In addition to appealing to the IOC, bowling is also popular with the Japanese. Japan is the largest member of the World Bowling federation after the United States, with 12 million Japanese claiming that they bowl regularly. The country is also home to two of the world’s biggest bowling centers: Inazawa Grand Bowl, the largest one-floor bowling center (116 lanes over 91494 square feet), and the Nagoya Grand Bowl, the bowling center with the largest number of lanes total (156 lanes spread across three floors).
According to the IOC’s “Olympic Agenda 2020” rules, the host city can propose the addition of one or more sports program of their own volition. Given bowling’s popularity in Japan, there’s a good chance that bowling will be a favorite among coordinators of the Tokyo Games. Additionally, the Tokyo Olympic Committee has stated that in order to reduce costs, it will be prioritizing sporting events that would not require the construction of new venues. In this case as well, bowling has a lead over many of its competitors, given the number of bowling facilities already located in the country.
The IOC will not make its official decision on which sports to include until August 2016, when it meets prior to that year’s Games in Rio de Janeiro. Before that, the finalists will make presentations to the Tokyo OC in August 2015, which will make its official recommendations to the IOC by September 30th.
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