The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo will be the first Olympics without some fan-favorite sports. Here’s a look at which sports were cut from the Games.
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Badminton was contested at the Summer Olympic Games since 1992. It was played in both men’s and women’s singles and doubles, as well as in mixed doubles. The sport has been dominated by China, with China winning all but one of the gold medals awarded since badminton became an Olympic sport. However, other nations such as Indonesia, South Korea, and Malaysia have also been successful in the sport.
In 2016, badminton was one of five sports added to the 2020 Summer Olympics program by the International Olympic Committee. It will be held in Tokyo, Japan from July 24 to August 9, 2020.
Baseball was an Olympic sport from 1992 to 2008, but was then dropped from the program. It remains a popular sport around the world, especially in the United States, Japan, and Cuba.
Softball was one of the first sports to be dropped from the Olympics. It was cut from the 2012 games in London, and it won’t be played in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro either. Baseball was also on the chopping block but narrowly escaped elimination.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) decides which sports are played at the Olympic Games. In 2005, the IOC voted to Schwarzenegger-ize the Olympics by adding more events that appeal to younger viewers. That’s why we’ve seen the rise of extreme sports like BMX racing, slopestyle skiing, and snowboarding in recent years. But adding new events also means dropping some old ones.
The IOC looks at a number of factors when deciding which sports to keep or cut. One is whether the sport is widely played around the world. Softball, for example, is mostly popular in North America, while baseball has a global following. The IOC also looks at whether a sport is sufficiently competitive (is there more than one country that’s good at it?) and whether it would be expensive to put on (Would building a temporary stadium be necessary?).
In 2010, the IOC voted to eliminate softball and baseball from the 2012 Olympics but gave both sports a chance to make a come-back for 2016. Softball didn’t make the cut—its global popularity just isn’t what it used to be—but baseball narrowly avoided elimination thanks to some intense lobbying by its fans.
Tug of war
The sport of tug of war was an Olympic event from 1900 to 1920. It was then dropped from the Games, but made a comeback as a demonstration sport in 1932 and again in 1988. However, it has never been reinstated as an official Olympic event.