What New Sports Will Debut at the Next Olympics?

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For the Winter Games in Sochi, the International Olympic Committee added 12 new events. We might be two and four years away from the next Olympic Games, but the process to add new events is well underway. It's time to consider what the next set of sports to break (or re-break) Olympic ground will be.

2016 Summer Olympics

As far back as 2008, the International Olympic Committee notified the world governing bodies of the seven sports being considered to fill two vacancies in the 2016 lineup. Representatives from baseball and softball—which were dropped in a 2005 IOC meeting, effective at the 2012 London Olympics—along with karate, golf, roller sports, squash and rugby made presentations to the IOC in Lausanne, Switzerland, in June 2009. After extensive lobbying, an IOC board selected golf and a pared-down, seven-man-per-team version of rugby as contenders.

That October, the full 106-member IOC assembly ratified the selections. Under a new rule, each sport only needed a simple majority, and not a two-thirds majority as had previously been the case, to join the program.

The classic 15-man team rugby was played inconsistently in the Olympics in the early 1900s, appearing four times between 1900 and 1924. The United States was only the team to take home the gold medal twice during that early incarnation.

Golf was also a part of the first Olympics in the 20th Century. But it disappeared from the program after inclusion in the 1900 and 1904 Games. Just as with rugby, the U.S. currently has the most Olympic golf medals—but that might have something to do with the fact that in 1904, 74 of the 77 golfers who participated were American.

2018 Winter Olympics

After the influx of new sports in the last Winter Olympics, the program was deemed plenty packed, so no additions were approved for 2018. Typically, the lineup for any given Olympics is determined, along with the host city, seven to eight years ahead of time. PyeongChang, South Korea has already be tapped to host in 2018. That said, specific sports are still lobbying for inclusion.

In addition to the five medal events for men and women, respectively, alpine skiing is pushing for an 11th coed team event to be added. "Now we are confident that [the IOC is] very open and supportive of including the nations team event," International Ski Federation (FIS) secretary general Sarah Lewis told Reuters.

Slightly less likely to be included is the two-man chicken bobsled. As part of a KFC-sponsored stunt, a pair of Olympic bobsledders made a video of themselves eating fried chicken while speeding down a bobsled track at 70mph. It's dramatic but I remain skeptical that the brand will get enough signatures on their Facebook petition to warrant inclusion at PyeongChang.

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February 24, 2014 - 9:30am
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