Breakdancing being introduced into the Olympic programme for 2024 may be the most eye catching news as the International Olympic Committee confirmed the sport and events at which medals will be won in Paris. It first appeared on the international games scene at the 2018 Youth Olympics and will make its debut at the big dance in 2024.
For Irish sporting bodies though, the biggest news concerns sports where we regular contend on the world stage. In boxing, weight categories and quotas are being cut again. In the men's events we've moved form 12 weights in 2000, to 11 weights in 2004-2008, to 1o in 2012-2016 and to 8 for Tokyo 2020-21. In Paris 2024, there will only be 7 men's weight categories. The final weights will be decided later.
Of course some of that movement has been because of introduction of women's boxing. In 2012 and 2016 there were only 3 weights. For Tokyo that increased to five and for Paris it will again increase to 6. It will mean there will be a total of 13 different boxing events in Paris with 7 for men and 6 for women.
In rowing, there was a move to eliminate the lightweight events. As Ireland has seen the vast majority of international success, including our only Olympics medal in rowing, in the lightweight events, the confirmation of lightweight double sculls for men and women in Paris is great news. Paul O'Donovan has won a world title (at either single or double) at the past 4 World Championships.
In athletics, the news for Irish athletes isn't so good with the 50km walk being removed from the schedule. Donegal's Brendan Boyce finished 6th at the last world championship and we have a great history at the event with World Champion and Olympic medalist Rob Heffernan being the standout performer. There may be a mixed race walk event but we'll see how that pans out.
Boyce took to Twitter soon after the announcement was made and certainly wasn't pleased with the decision.
Yes, no gender equality in 50k so it's booted and they will add a mixed gender event instead whatever that means. The rest of my thoughts on the matter aren't for public display but good to have my retirement organised by Thomas Bach.
— Brendan Boyce (@brendanboyce) December 7, 2020
The sport to see the biggest changes to its programme is weightlifting. After several games dogged by doping, its appearance at the 2024 Games is hanging by a thread. Only 120 quota places have been assigned to weightlifting for 2024. As recently as Rio 2016, there were 260 quota places for weightlifting.
The announcement today should see a reaction soon from the individual sporting federations.