Tokyo 2020: Mixed events would add 'fun' element to Olympics – Adam Peaty

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter
Rio 2016 British champion swimmer Adam Peaty
Adam Peaty set a new 100m breaststroke world record at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Rio 2016 champion swimmer Adam Peaty says the introduction of mixed events for Tokyo 2020 would make the Olympics "more fun".

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will decide the medal events for each sport in 2020 on Friday, 9 June - a month ahead of schedule.

The IOC believes mixed events and mixed relays will help promote gender equality.

"I'm 100% in favour as it would add spice," Peaty told BBC Sport.

Archery, judo, modern pentathlon, table tennis, taekwondo, triathlon and synchronised swimming are some of the other sports known to have proposed mixed events.

The success of the 4x400m mixed event at the recent World Relays in the Bahamas increased the possibility of mixed athletics competitions entering the Tokyo Games.

Peaty helped guide the British swimming team to mixed medley relay gold as the event made its World Championship debut in 2015.

"It's something that would make things [at the Olympics] a little bit more fun," said Peaty.

GB win gold in world record time during 2015 World Swimming Championships in Russia

"Obviously it's very serious, but it's great to mix things up from what they've been for so long as it adds a little spice and they're great to watch."

Over 11,000 athletes contested 306 medal events at Rio 2016 and although international governing bodies submitted over 60 proposals for new events, the IOC is believed to be keen on keeping the 2020 Games to a similar size.

This is despite five new sports - baseball/softball, karate, sport climbing, surfing and skateboarding - all joining the line-up for Tokyo.

As such, new mixed events would generally present existing competitors with a second medal opportunity - in addition to their individual or same-sex team competition - rather than create a new athlete line-up.

Some sports, such as canoeing, rowing and shooting have proposed dropping men's events in favour of women's ones, whilst boxing and weightlifting are proposing extra weight categories but without requiring additional athletes.

In addition to the mixed 4x100m freestyle and mixed 4x100m medley relays, FINA - swimming's international governing body - has also pitched for the introduction of 50m sprint events for all strokes and genders.

At present only freestyle has a 50m event in the Olympic programme, but Peaty - who is the reigning 50m breaststroke world champion and world record holder - is keen to see the IOC approve all events.

"Everyone loves the 50s because they're so close and tight, so the more 50s and more events the better really," said Peaty.

As part of its 'Agenda 2020' programme, the IOC is also looking at ways of 'better appealing' to younger audiences.

As such, a number of new disciplines such as 3x3 basketball, BMX freestyle, high-diving (competitive cliff diving) and a form of gymnastics-based parkour could also be introduced.

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