Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

What could the Olympics add next?

Posted on 20 August 2021 by Jeremy Addley

The Tokyo Olympics saw the first inclusion of surfing, skateboarding, & sports climbing along with the return of other sports including baseball and softball. The 2024 Paris games will keep some of the events from Tokyo but it does open the debate as to what the Olympics could potentially add in the future. Here is a list of some of the sporting events that we could possibly see in the near future.

Cricket:

This summer has seen the start of The Hundred series in England, a move towards a more faster paced franchise cricket. The idea behind the new format was to attract in a younger audience through shorter games whilst providing constant fixtures to be televised every day.

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There is no doubt the new format has been able to attract and retain a new audience with both fans and former players hailing its success as former England cricket, Nasser Hussain, commented on Sky Sports:

“I think it has been a success. If you’ve been sat at home or in the stands watching the tournament; would you say it has been a successful, enjoyable tournament? Definitely.”

There is a debate surrounding whether The Hundred will only help to kill off the traditional test match format, something the Olympic Committee would have to help quell. The question of what format to go with would certainly only cause friction within the cricketing community but it could potentially expose the game to an audience not overly associated with the game, attracting in new fans and sponsors.

Formula 1 racing:

The Netflix series ‘Drive to Survive’ has shown that there is definitely a place within the racing world for a new, different type of fan labelled the ‘casual’. These types of fans may anger and frustrate the existing hardcore racing community, but they also help to bring in more revenue and attention to a sport considered to be niche even during the Senna, Schumacher and now Hamilton eras.

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There are a multitude of ways in which the Olympic Committee could elect to go. Firstly, it could follow the golf approach by allowing the best in the world to compete for their respective nation.

However, an alternative and perhaps a more intriguing setup would be to give drivers in Formula 2 or Formula E, who have realistic chances of making the top tier racing circuit, the seat instead. For example, instead of seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton racing for Great Brittan it would be Alfa Romeo prospect, Callum Ilott.

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Not only would you be able to test the young drivers to see who at that point appears to have the metal to last a full season but also expose the fan base to the next generation who will go onto replace their cult heroes of Kimmi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel.

There would be questions of pit crews, team principals and car setups as we have seen they all provide an advantage if you have access to a bigger budget. There would be no doubt the Olympic Committee would have to make certain the playing fields were even by potentially incorporating the use of one singular car design, but this could be a welcomed headache.

E-sports:

Perhaps the most controversial option but no doubt a popular one. Many have perceived Electronic sports or better known as E-sports to be a hobby not an actual sport.

In recent years however, that perception is beginning to change within the wider sporting community. The recognition from major organisations such as the Premier League have helped to only grow the community and more importantly, add validation to the sport. It has now reached the point where the Olympic Committee has discussed its inclusion in future games.

One of the issues is to what exactly will the E-sports event be as E-sports doesn’t mean only sport but gaming as a whole. Certainty the easiest option would be to run a PG event such as football after the success of the E-Premier League tournament ran back in March 2021. The footballing side of E-sports has attracted in mass following and large sponsorship deals with major brands such as Red Bull establishing a E-sports gaming brand.

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No doubt there would be major push back if E-sports is included over other sports that have been pushing for a coveted place in the Olympics but the sheer popularity of the sport has now pushed it right to the forefront of the waiting line.

It can be a fun game to guess what exactly the Olympic Committee will pick next. Whatever sports are selected next there will be a tidal wave of excitement and anticipation for any sport that makes its Olympic debut.