Exploration

Heart-Pumping Sports Bid To Join Olympics

A new sport's path to victory is riddled with rule changes and politics.

Underdogs, controversy, emotional victory, crushing defeat. The path for a sport to become part of the Olympics can feel like a rollercoaster, especially since recent rule changes introduced by the International Olympic Committee put previously rejected sports back in the running.

Take a closer look at the heart-pumping summer and winter sports that international associations and devoted athletes hope will gain official status in the future.

Take a closer look at the heart-pumping summer and winter sports that international associations and devoted athletes hope will gain official status in the future. Credit: Thinkstock

The IOC rejected competitive indoor rock climbing from the 2020 Olympics back in 2013, but proponents didn't lose hope. The sport got a second shot after the IOC introduced a policy that lets host cities suggest new sports and events. Climbing fits the bill for Tokyo with its focus on youth and equal opportunities for men and women. The committee decides in August 2016. Credit: Thinkstock

If indoor sports climbing does make the cut for Tokyo, competitive ice climbing could have a better chance at becoming an official Olympic sport. In 2014, a delegation from the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation met with IOC officials to discuss adding ice climbing for 2022. Now that the rules have changed, host city Beijing will have a say about it. Previously ice climbing was featured as an exhibition at the Sochi Olympics, and more recently was a sport at the Lillehammer 2016 Youth Olympic Games. Credit: International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation

No mere polar plunge, ice swimming involves going for a mile in 41-degree-Fahrenheit water wearing no more than a cap, swimsuit, and goggles, according to the International Ice Swimming Association's rules. The sport has gained more recognition in the years since the association first formed in 2009, and supporters keep hoping it will be added to the Winter Games. One advantage ice swimming has over other winter sports: no snow required. Credit: International Ice Swimming Association

Like climbing, surfing is moving closer to becoming an official Olympic sport. It's part of the same package for Tokyo that the IOC will consider when members meet in Rio. Advancements in artificial wave technology could help make the case for surfing, allowing officials to control what would otherwise be a potentially dangerous competition, although surfers are divided in how they view the possibility. Credit: Kelly Slater Wave Co, Instagram

Although the martial arts judo and taekwondo are currently Olympic sports, karate has yet to gain official status. Pioneered in an area of Japan that is now Okinawa, karate has been rejected by the IOC three times in the past. Part of the challenge is that there are numerous styles, which makes picking just one difficult and controversial. The World Karate Federation is in charge of the bid, and only allows minimal contact. Karate will be up for a new IOC vote in summer 2016. Credit: Thinkstock

Longtime an X Games staple, competitive skateboarding now has a good chance at joining the Olympics. One of the sports under consideration for Tokyo 2020, skateboarding was part of the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing in 2014. The current bid prompted a backlash, though. An online petition against inclusion saying that skateboarding isn't a "sport" and shouldn't be exploited by the Olympics gained more than 6,700 signatures. Despite this, the bid has received support from international skateboarding groups and a number of pros. Credit: Thinkstock