International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board press conference in Lausanne was a complicated analogy about two big birds circling somewhere between the sky, a roof, and somebody’s hand. In terms of clarity, it was about as helpful as footballer Eric Cantona’s memorable bird-related quote about seagulls, sardines and a trawler when sentenced for kung-fu kicking a spectator in 1995.

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We ended up information, we did not already know about the nuts and bolts of how two Olympic Games will be awarded at the same time later this year. If anything, the bird metaphor was most useful in illustrating Thomas Bach’s continual struggles with answering a question in anything approaching a straightforward manner.

It was, therefore, refreshing that the dress rehearsal announcement of new events and disciplines due to appear at Tokyo Olympic proved more interesting. Only focusing on present sports already on the programmed, it was an evolutionary alteration rather than a radical shift. But it was definitely more than rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. The 3×3 basketball, a schoolyard form of the game in which only one basket is used, and a BMX freestyle event in which riders perform judged tricks in what appears to the untrained eye to be a skatepark.

Canoeing, rowing, and shooting have all swapped men’s events with female or mixed ones. Boxing will do this as well, albeit less freely after being ordered to cut two men’s divisions to accommodate two extra female ones. Weightlifting is the biggest “loser” after gender equality was ensured not by adding an extra women’s event, but by cutting a men’s one.

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Basketball is the only sport to enjoy a bigger number of athletes as quotas were cut elsewhere. Athletics will lose 105 places while swimming and water polo faces a collective reduction of 40. BMX freestyle has been added by cutting quotas in the road, mountain bike, and existing BMX events.

Skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing seem like too young in their governance and development when added and I am yet to be fully influenced they are what young people really want. The process was also unclear, with decisions seemingly made by IOC top brass and then foisted upon Tokyo Olympic in return for baseball, softball, and karate.

In cycling, for instance, the Madison events were probably added partly in return for the sport accepting a Tokyo Olympic proposal to move the velodrome to Izu, nearly 150 kilometers outside the Japanese capital city. Modern pentathlon had ineffectively applied for a mixed squad relay while taekwondo had also proposed a multi-gender squad event.

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Basketball, archery, judo, and triathlon all ran outstanding campaigns and worked hard to make their applications as full and well-promoted as possible. Judo will go down very well at Tokyo Olympic while having an extra day of triathlon will also add atmosphere and marketable benefit.

Gymnastics’ hazy and unconfirmed attempt to include parkour was also exactly unsuccessful. Like a British Conservative Party platform, they went about it the wrong way. Boxing cannot be too astonished to miss out after an Olympic Games littered with judging rows and other controversies. Bach also made clear that weightlifting had been punished partly for the “massive” doping problems in the sport as shown by IOC retests.

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