Michael Pavitt

When the International Olympic Committee (IOC) revealed that 20 of the 27 Olympic International Federations (IFs) had requested changes to the Paris 2024 event programme, the task was a simple one. Try to determine who has asked for what.

Several of the IFs contacted by insidethegames were open with their proposals for new events for Paris 2024, while others were keen to keep their cards close to their chest with talks ongoing ahead of the programme being finalised in December.

For some, December is expected to see the IOC simply rubber stamp changes the IF has already approved from its Tokyo 2020 programme to Paris 2024 – an example being the boat classes in sailing.

Canoeing, gymnastics, handball, modern pentathlon, rowing, shooting, table tennis and triathlon are among the IFs to have confirmed they are seeking new events for Paris 2024.

Unsurprisingly the larger team sports such as football, hockey and volleyball confirmed they had made no requests for new events, while archery, tennis and equestrian were also in the no camp.

The most eye catching of the proposals came from the International Canoe Federation (ICF) – potentially due to the word "extreme" featuring.

The governing body confirmed it is hoping to have extreme canoe slalom added to Paris 2024,

A quick scout of the ICF website and YouTube informed me that the discipline sees multiple athletes’ race down the slalom course at the same time, with paddlers battling to reach the first buoy on the course to earn an advantage. A compulsory eskimo roll and a complete 360 degree flip offer some insight into where the extreme word fits in.

The ICF say the races are over in around one minute, with tactics considered key as athletes have to make choices, such as which side of the course they should take.

Having been unsuccessful in its attempts to have parkour added for Tokyo 2020, the International Gymnastics Federation has confirmed it will try again for Paris 2024.

Despite the ongoing dispute over the ownership of parkour, the FIG may have a stronger case this time around having had a Parkour World Cup series as part of the International Festival of Extreme Sports, as well as featuring at the World Urban Games. With Place de la Concorde approved as a venue urban sports at Paris 2024 and the discipline’s origins in France, it could make sense.

The International Table Tennis Federation are seeking to see both men’s and women’s doubles added to the programme, while the International Modern Pentathlon Union has requested a mixed relay event.

As previously reported by insidethegames the International Handball Federation has put forward beach handball, while World Rowing are keen to have coastal rowing added to provide more diversity by including those who live near oceans and seas.

Both the International Triathlon Union and the International Shooting Sport Federation confirmed they had requested one additional medal event for Paris 2024.

Plans of other IFs remain unclear.

Parkour featured at the World Urban Games last year, with the FIG keen to see it added to the Olympic programme ©Getty Images
Parkour featured at the World Urban Games last year, with the FIG keen to see it added to the Olympic programme ©Getty Images

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe has previously spoken of his hopes to see cross-country return to the Olympics, with the discipline last featuring in Paris back in 1924. A more extreme version at the World Cross Country Championships in Aarhus last year and a Youth Olympic debut at Buenos Aires in 2018 were both considered successes.

International Swimming Federation (FINA) last time around came with a near wish list, with high diving, a mixed duet artistic swimming event and several swimming sprint events among their proposals. It remains to be seen whether any of these suggestions return for Paris 2024.

Both World Athletics and FINA saw efforts to have mixed team relays added for Tokyo 2020 approved, while archery, judo, table tennis, and triathlon had mixed team competitions added as well.

Several IFs may be included to follow suit, such as taekwondo, who had been unsuccessful in their attempts to have a mixed team event added for Tokyo.

The International Cycling Union, who were considered among the big winners last time around with the madison and BMX Freestyle being added, could well seek a mixed event.

Reuters reported last year that a mixed-team time-trial relay was being considered by the governing body following its debut at the Road World Championships in Yorkshire.

Potential changes could include efforts to achieve greater gender equality. UCI President David Lappartient told insidethegames back in 2018 that the women’s team sprint could move from a two-person to a three-person event to mirror the men’s competition, while the number of riders in the men's road race could be sacrificed to enable an increase in participation for the women's event.

With the governing body succeeding at having BMX Freestyle added last time around, it would be no surprise if another event from its Urban Cycling World Championships is proposed with the IOC keen on the urban park concept.

The task for IFs seeking to have new events added to the Paris 2024 programme, however, seems much more challenging than it was for Tokyo 2020.

The IOC appeared to be tightening its belt earlier this month when confirming the deadline of December remained to determine the full event programme and athlete quota for Paris 2024.

The ITTF are seeking to have men's and women's doubles added for Paris 2024 ©Getty Images
The ITTF are seeking to have men's and women's doubles added for Paris 2024 ©Getty Images

"The exceptional situation caused by COVID-19 requires exceptional measures," said Thomas Bach, IOC President.

"Therefore, any decision concerning the event programme for Paris 2024 should reflect Olympic Agenda 2020, including a new phase of the ‘New Norm’. 

"The IOC Executive Board has reiterated the vital importance of reducing the cost and complexity of hosting the Olympic Games, particularly concerning venue requirements."

This confirmation came with the IOC outlining the "key principles" around the decision in December, which included new events only being permitted if there are existing venues.

The principles also included reducing the overall athlete quota to 10,500 and prioritising new events that accommodate athletes within the sport’s existing quota allocation.

In other words, IFs will have to find a way of getting more out of less.

Arguably this is not such a new approach, if we look at the numbers from Rio 2016 to Tokyo 2020.

The last Summer Olympic Games saw a total of 11,238 athletes competing in 306 events across the 28 sports. The number of athletes is expected to drop to 11,091 at Tokyo 2020, yet the events are expected to swell to 339 - partly due to the five additional sports entering the programme for Tokyo 2020.

The departure of baseball/softball and karate after Tokyo 2020 should ease the number of athletes by roughly 175, although skateboarding is expected to add around 96 athletes.

Should the IOC prove firm with its stance that 10,500 athletes will compete at Paris 2024, this could prove problematic for some IFs seeking new events. For instance, the beach handball proposal would reportedly have added 128 athletes.

It seems likely some IFs being required to trim the number of current quota places in existing events to enable new disciplines and medal opportunities to emerge.

Would the FIG, for example, reduce the number of athletes in its other disciplines to enable parkour to be added.

Perhaps a knock-on effect would be less qualification events at the Games, amid a larger amount of finals.

We shall see in December.