Should skateboarding be an Olympic sport? Americans judge the Tokyo 2020 additions

Jamie BallardData Journalist
July 27, 2021, 1:00 PM UTC

As some Americans tune into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, they may notice new sports on the schedule this year.  
 
The International Olympic Committee allows the organizing committee of each Games to propose new events when it is their turn to host. Four sports will be making their Olympic debut at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics: karate, skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing. Other sports are being expanded to include new disciplines, such as three-on-three basketball and BMX freestyle. 

The Tokyo Olympics organizing committee also moved to re-add baseball and softball in this year’s Games, which marks the first time since 2008 that these sports have featured at the Olympics. Madison cycling, a relay event where teams of cyclists complete laps, will also be featured at the Olympics this year. It will be the first time since 2008 that this event has been featured as a men’s event, and the first time in Olympic history that women will compete in the madison event.  

But do Americans think these sports should be part of the Olympics?  

Karate proves the most worthy, with 56% of Americans saying this should be an Olympic sport. Around half say baseball (53%) and softball (49%) should be Olympic sports. Americans also tend to say madison cycling should be an Olympic sport, by 48% to 19%.   

Opinion is more divided on the sports of skateboarding (42% say this should be an Olympic sport; 33% disagree), surfing (39% to 33%), and freestyle BMX riding, in which riders do stunts on BMX bikes (35% to 35%). 

Americans tend to say that sport climbing, in which rock climbers race to the top of a climbing wall should not be an Olympic sport, by 37% to 31%. Three-versus-three basketball is the least popular of this list, with 39% saying it should not be an Olympic sport while 26% say it should be. 

Which sports would Americans add to the Olympics?   

Although several sports were added to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, there are still other sports that many Americans would like to see added to future games.  

About one in eight (12%) Americans would add lacrosse to the Olympic games, while 11% would add bowling. Lacrosse was previously featured at the summer Olympics, but hasn’t been included in the summer games since 1948. Bowling was featured as a demonstration sport (where competitors are not eligible for medals) at the 1988 Olympics, but it hasn’t been part of the Olympic lineup since.  

Slightly fewer would add American football (9%), dodgeball (8%), roller skating (8%), or water skiing (8%) to the Olympic events.  

 
US adults under 30 are especially likely to say they would likely to see dodgeball (15%) and roller skating (14%) added to the list of Olympic sports.  

See full results for these surveys here and here

Methodology: 1,000 U.S. Citizens, aged 18 and over, were surveyed for these polls on July 16 - 19, 2021 and July 21 - 23, 2021. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in Internet panel using sample matching. A random sample (stratified by gender, age, race, education, geographic region, and voter registration) was selected from the 2016 American Community Study. The samples were weighted based on gender, age, race, education, news interest, and 2016 Presidential vote (or non-vote). The margin of error for the entire samples is 3.8%.