The question of who would organise a Tokyo 2020 skateboarding competition has yet to be answered ©Getty Images

Discussions are still being held by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) about who would oversee a skateboarding competition if the sport is ultimately added to the Tokyo 2020 schedule following a recommendation by Games organisers today.

Skateboarding was proposed alongside baseball and softball, karate, sport climbing and surfing as five sports were put forward from an eight-strong list of nominees which was whittled down. 

Discussions will next take place within the IOC Executive Board before a final decision on what to include is made at next summer's IOC Session in Rio de Janeiro.

Skateboarding events were included within the International Roller Skating Federation's (FIRS) submission, because both the International Skateboarding Federation (ISF) and World Skateboarding Federation (WSF) are not recognised by the IOC so were not eligible to apply.

But, although speed skating was also shortlisted, only street and park skateboarding events were ultimately proposed, with a total of 80 athletes set to compete across two male and two female competitions.

This raises the possibility of the FIRS assuming responsibility for a competition which consists only of events on a single board.

Yet in a statement sent to insidethegames since the decision, the ISF have claimed it is still possible that the responsible governing body could be switched. 

The ISF oversaw skateboarding events in the Sports Lab during the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games ©IOC
The ISF oversaw skateboarding events in the Sports Lab during the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games ©IOC

"At a later date the IOC will confirm the International Federation that is responsible for the control and direction of skateboarding at the Olympic Games," they said.

"The ISF is in dialogue with the IOC regarding the governance and management of skateboarding at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games."

The ISF, headed by American businessman Gary Ream, currently has 27 member federations, with many more being reportedly considered for admission.

It collaborated with the IOC to oversee the skateboarding exhibition event at the Nanjing 2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games, where the sport was showcased separately to roller skating but, unlike the FIRS and all the other governing bodies of shortlisted sports, it is not a member of the Association of IOC Recognised International Sport Federations (ARISF).

Nor is it a member of SportAccord, the umbrella-organisation of sporting federations, although this is now less of a problem because the organisation is currently effectively defunct as an active body following the resignation of former President Marius Vizer in May following a well-publicised fallout with the IOC and its head, Thomas Bach.

The ISF claims, however, to unite the "greater skateboarding community under one umbrella" and is endorsed by icons of the sport, such as Tony Hawk and Bob Burnquist, as well as by current stars such as Leticia Bufoni and Chris Cole.

"Today’s announcement by Tokyo 2020 marks an important milestone in skateboarding’s short Olympic history which started with a first Olympic experience at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing in [the] summer [of] 2014," said Ream.

"This decision recognises the growth and popularity of skateboarding, and we appreciate that the IOC has made it possible for new sports to be added to the Games.

"The ISF and the skateboarding community are ready, equipped and well positioned to help make the first Olympic appearance of skateboarding an amazing one for skaters and fans alike.”

Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk is among those to back the sport bidding for a place at the Olympics ©Getty Images
Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk is among those to back the sport bidding for a place at the Olympics ©Getty Images

The FIRS have also expressed their delight at the decision today, and it can be assumed that they fully intend to continue their organisational role.

In a statement, FIRS President Sabatino Aracu has said how he is "convinced that, thanks to the Games, the roller movement will further develop roller sports not only in Japan but all over the world".

But in a further twist, a third body, the World Skateboarding Federation also exists, headed by another American in Tim McFerran.

They have no national federation members and are also not IOC-recognised but still wield some influence, with McFerran telling insidethegames today how he was "pleased about the exciting and positive news coming out of Tokyo".

"WSF is actively working with many national federations and Government agencies around the world to provide leadership and guidance to ensure a very positive experience for all skateboarders and their fans at the Games," he said.

All three bodies have discussed the future of the sport together with the IOC. 

"A meeting with representatives of the FIRS, the ISF and WSF took place in Lausanne to discuss the ongoing development of the sport and its relationship with the Olympic Movement," an IOC spokesperson confirmed to insidethegames in March.

"The meeting followed up on constructive discussions throughout the course of 2014 and the inclusion of both roller sport[s] and skateboarding in the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games Sports Lab. 

"All parties reflected on the positive nature of the discussions and look forward to further dialogue."

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