Wushu NOT among the five sports considered for Tokyo 2020

olympic wushu

olympic wushu

Unfortunately, once again, Wushu has missed the opportunity to be part of the Olympic Games program.

Five sports, including skateboarding, baseball/softball, karate, climbing and surfing, have been recommended by the organizers of the Tokyo Olympics for inclusion at the 2020 Summer Games.

“This package of events represents both traditional and emerging, youth-focused events, all of which are popular both in Japan and internationally,” Tokyo organizers said in a statement. “They will serve as a driving force to further promote the Olympic Movement and its values, with a focus on youth appeal, and will add value to the Games by engaging the Japanese population and new audiences worldwide, reflecting the Tokyo 2020 Games vision.”

Under new rules, Olympic host cities can hand-pick sports they want included at the Games, joining the existing 28 core sports. The final decision rests with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which will vote on the 2020 recommendations next August.

What follows is an excerpt from the much longer proposal to the IOC by the IWUF (*), slightly edited for clarity:


Events proposed for inclusion in the Olympic Games
IWUF proposes to include four four-medal events events:
-men’s longfist, broadsword and staff play combined
-men’s taiji-fist and taiji-sword combined
-women’s longfist, sword and spear play combined
-women’s taiji-fist and taiji-sword combined.

Rationale for putting forward these events
IWUF states that longfist, broadsword, sword, staff, spear, taiji-fist and taiji-sword are the most representative and popularised styles of wushu. Long-fist, broadsword and staff display power and swiftness in accordance with the Olympic philosophy of “faster, higher, stronger”. Moreover, the sword, spear, taiji-fist and taij-sword display elegance, beauty and artistry by demonstrating the integration of hard and soft movements stressed in Asian philosophies. IWUF believes that these events fully represent wushu as a sport and compellingly display its diverse forms and abundant content.

Competition format
IWUF proposes four days of competition in total. Day one would include men’s longfist, women’s sword play and taiji-sword. Day two would include men’s staff play and taiji-fist and women’s longfist. Day three would include men’s broadsword and women’s spear play and taiji-fist. On day four, men’s taiji-sword would take place. Athletes compete individually within all four combined events. Athletes submit their degree of difficulty registration before the competition. Contest officials include: chief referee, assistant chief referee, a head judge and three judges within each panel (A, B and C). Each event’s starting score is 10 points, comprising five points for quality of movements, three points for overall performance, and two points for degree of difficulty. Panels A, B and C officiate independently. Panel A evaluates quality of movements. Panel B and the head judge evaluate overall performance. Panel C evaluates degree of difficulty. A competitor’s final score is the sum of the scores obtained from panels A, B and C, minus deductions due to an overtime or short performance, if any. Competitors are placed according to their scores, with the highest score placed first, the second highest placed second, etc.

Number of competition days (Men/Women)
Four days/Three days

Athlete quota (Men/Women)

Proposed qualification system
IWUF states that all competing athletes must be registered athletes of IWUF member national associations. Athletes must hold valid citizenship in the country or region of the registered IWUF member nation association and must have resided at least two years by the day of the competition in that nation or region. The 15th World Wushu Championships in 2019 will serve as the qualifying competition, with the top twelve athletes gaining the right to enter the 2020 Olympic Games wushu competitions. There will also be a total of 24 wild cards, six per event, which will be allocated by IWUF.

Presentation of the events at the Olympic Games
IWUF states that there will be official audio and video introducing the rich history of wushu, its benefits and value and its development as a modern and global sport. The video will also introduce the various events and specific rules and regulations. In addition, the video will profile the athletes and team coaches. Competition content and event features will be introduced. Event results will also be announced. At first, there will be an interactive session between the master of ceremonies, world-renowned wushu movie stars, and the audience. Later, a wushu demonstration and cultural presentation will be staged before the awards ceremony. Elements of wushu and oriental culture will be integrated into the venue’s design.

Rationale of proposal
IWUF states that wushu has met the basic requirements for entering the Olympic Games. IWUF has developed into the leading world wushu organisation, recognised by the IOC, with 104 member national federations corresponding to NOCs. Wushu features athleticism, wellness, self-defence, as well as entertainment value. The rich content, adaptability, and broad reach make it a strong addition to the Olympic Games. The sport of wushu already has a wide social foundation, while also attracting more and more attention in the media. Wushu has huge potential to grow in popularity, as the worldwide appeal of martial arts continues to increase. According to estimates, there are nearly 100 million people in the world actively practising wushu. Wushu culture is the perfect complement to the Olympic spirit. The introduction into the Olympic Games of values from oriental-originated sports, such as the focus on nature and harmony found in wushu, will undoubtedly enrich the Olympic spirit and positively affect the development of other contemporary sports. This type of enriching cultural exchange between East and West will help further the development of Olympic sports and its culture.

Added value brought to the Olympic Games
IWUF states that wushu’s entry into the Olympic Games integrates ancient and modern, East and West, and also deepens and enriches the Olympic culture. Wushu’s entry will help enrich, promote, and develop the Olympic spirit. Wushu stresses the harmony between man and nature, man and society, and between human beings themselves, thus enriching the Olympic spirit. Wushu’s core values enhance the sport’s educational value to the younger generation and will have a positive effect on the Olympic Games. Wushu’s entrance into the Games will also stimulate the passion of some 100 million wushu fans and practitioners worldwide for the Olympic Games, thus increasing the Games’ audience and ratings. The inclusion of wushu in the Olympic Games will promote strengthened participation from developing countries, making the Games more representative of our current world as a whole. Due to wushu’s large number of practitioners and fans, its entrance into the Olympic Games will provide the IOC with a chance to capitalise on the sport’s popularity and huge potential market.

Added value brought by the Olympic Games
IWUF states that wushu’s entry will provide IWUF with a wider international arena, ultimately helping its growth. Wushu’s entry will also help develop the competitive side of the sport, especially by providing exposure to young people. National Olympic Committees worldwide would highlight the importance of wushu, which will lead to a more globally coordinated development of the sport. Moreover, wushu’s entry will promote the development of the non-competitive aspect of the art form, ultimately leading to wushu playing a more popular role in fitness and exercise as increased exposure attracts people to its values of harmony and promoting wellness. With wushu’s entry, there will ultimately be more companies interested in sponsoring the wushu movement. Simultaneously, more media will be attracted, which will also increase the exposure of the sport and the value it holds globally. Thanks to the low cost of participation and the large range of physical techniques, wushu is accessible to people at most income levels. For these reasons, wushu is popular in developing countries, and in the same vein, its official entry will provide developing countries with more opportunities to achieve good results at the Olympic Games.

(*) Source: “2020 Olympic Games – Shortlisted International Federations Report” published by the IOC in 2013.


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Tokyo 2020 additional events: IWUF for interview yesterday

Tokyo2020 additional events: Eight sports, including baseball/softball, squash, karate, surfing, bowling, roller sports, sport climbing and Wushu, made presentations this week in hopes of being included in the program for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

The organizers chose the eight sports from an original list of 26 that also included air sports, American football, bowling, bridge, chess, dance sport, floorball, flying disc, korfball, netball, orienteering, polo, racquetball, sumo, tug of war, underwater sports, waterski and wakeboard.

Chair of the Tokyo 2020 Additional Event Program Panel, Fujio Mitarai stated, “The interviews consisted of a presentation given by each of the international federations followed by a question and answer session. Each of the international federations gave compelling presentations detailing why they should be selected as an additional event on the 2020 Olympic program, and all the presentations were highly commendable.”

The Additional Event Program Panel will make their final recommendations to the IOC based on three key principles:
1) Making sure that the additional event(s) will be a driving force to promote the Olympic Movement and its values with a particular emphasis on youth appeal.
2) Making sure that the additional event(s) will add to the 2020 Games’ value by engaging new audiences worldwide and the Japanese population, while reflecting the vision of the Tokyo 2020 Games.
3) Ensuring that the selection procedure is a fair and open process.

By September 30, the decision on the events(s) will be proposed to the IOC by the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee. Then at the 129th IOC Session in August of 2016, the final decision will be made. Stay tuned!


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2015 Wushu U.S. National Team Trials

Congratulations to all of the athletes who competed at the U.S. Wushu Team Trials & Golden State Championships in San Jose, CA last weekend.

Special congratulations to Isabella Miller for earning a well-deserved spot on the U.S. National Wushu Team after months of hard work and dedication!

Make sure to visit this Sports Illustrated Photo Gallery  for an outstanding collection of pictures from the event.


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