Karate in the Olympics Games
Will it happen? More importantly, should it happen? Martial arts have a long-standing history in the Olympic Games with Judo and Taekwondo being perhaps the most popular. Where is karate situated in the Olympic landscape?
Karate has been bounced around the IOC offices since the mid ’70s/early ’80s and has been voted on for inclusion a couple times now, the most recent being in 2005. Each time karate has been put up, it has failed to receive the 2/3 majority vote from IOC committee members in favour of some other sport.
But its up again. This November the IOC will place another vote at its IOC session in Innsbruck, Denmark where it will consider karate for inclusion in the 2016 Olympics. And the IOC seem more interested this time.
In 2005 karate did not make it in, but the WKF was recognized by the IOC as being the governing body of competitive karate. Just a couple months ago, in November, IOC administrative folk attended the WKF’s 19th Karate Championships in Tokyo. Couple this with the fact that Tokyo is in contention for hosting the 2016 games, and we have a pretty good case for karate to appear in these games.
I’m not saying it should, but politics are politics and if Japan would be willing to promote addition of karate to the games (read: “pay sufficiently to have it added”), it will be added. Although I’d hate to see karate face the same fate as Taekwondo received last summer.
My guess is this: if Tokyo wins the bid this October for the 2016 Olympics, karate will be successfully voted in. Japan will want to showcase its traditional arts and culture as any other country has and karate will be one these arts. It might be removed at the following Olympics, but such is life.
The WKF will be at the forefront of the induction of sport karate into the Olympics. The WKF has been working with numerous karate organizations worldwide to formulate the competition requirements, judging guidelines, participation regulations, etc., and has been waiting for this for a long time.
The IOC vote takes place October 2, 2009 to decide the 2016 Games host.