The IOC has added both to the list of provisional sports, which means they have the opportunity to be included in upcoming Games
If you've got that Olympic fever and just can't wait for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games to roll around, the latest Olympics gossip will have you pumped; cheerleading and Muay Thai have officially been added to the list of provisional sports by the International Olympic Committee, according to a press release. That means for the next three years, the governing body of each sport will get $25,000 annually to work on their application for potential inclusion in the Olympics.
Muay Thai is a combat-style form of martial arts similar to kickboxing that originated in Thailand. The sport encompasses more than 135 national federations and nearly 400,000 registered athletes in the International Federation of Muaythai Amateur (IFMA), as reported by Reuters. Cheerleading, the competitive version of what you see on the sidelines of football fields and basketball courts, has more than 100 national federations and nearly 4.5 million registered athletes in the International Cheer Union (ICU)—that's some impressive participation. At any point during the next three years, IOC execs can vote to fully recognize the sports, after which, the Muay Thai and cheerleading governing bodies could petition to be included in the Olympic Games.
For sports to become a part of the Olympics is usually a drawn-out seven-year process, but the IOC has changed the rules to allow host cities to introduce sports of their choice for a one-off appearance in the Games. For example, surfing, baseball/softball, karate, skateboarding, and sport climbing will all be included in the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics because of this exception. This is all part of an effort to appeal to younger audiences, according to an IOC press release.
So if you're a fan of watching Ronda Rousey or other MMA badasses slay it in the ring, Muay Thai may just be your new favorite Olympic sport come 2020, so keep an eye on the athletes. (Just check out these 15 Times Ronda Rousey Inspired Us to Kick Ass.) And if you're confused as to why cheerleading might be making an appearance as well, then you need to be schooled in what competitive cheerleading teams are doing these days; they're far from the rah-rah pompon-waving popular girls on TV. (And, yes, that's actually how you spell pompon.) The stunts and tumbling they perform take some serious athleticism.
How about now?
Yeah, that's what we thought.