Baseball, surfing among sports approved for Tokyo 2020

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Baseball, surfing among sports approved for Tokyo 2020 - IOC

Five sports, including baseball, skateboarding and surfing, will feature at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after the IOC voted them in on Wednesday in an attempt to revamp the Games program to attract a younger audience.

The International Olympic Committee unanimously rubber-stamped the decision taken by its executive board in June, approving the inclusion of skateboarding, surfing, sports climbing, karate and a joint baseball/softball bid, which is expected to significantly boost local support for the Olympics.

SEE MORE: Everything you need to know about the Summer Olympics

The IOC session in the Brazilian city voted unanimously with a show of hands in favor of the sports which will make a one-off appearance in the Games.

"This will help make the Tokyo Games one of the most innovative Games in history," IOC Vice President John Coates said.

Baseball and softball, proposed to be staged in Yokohama, will each have a competition involving six teams. They last featured at the Olympics in Beijing in 2008 before being taken off the program and missing the 2012 and the 2016 Games.

It is unclear, however, if baseball will feature the world's best players from the MLB in the United States.

"Today's historic decision by the IOC is a 'home run' for the Olympics, our sport and the Tokyo 2020 Games," World Baseball and Softball Confederation President Riccardo Fraccari said.

"Nations competing for the Olympic gold medal in baseball and softball, in Japan, will best showcase the nature and spirit of our global sport -- and it will be the most covered and most exciting international baseball/softball tournaments in history."

STARS OF SYDNEY 2000: WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

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Where are they now? The stars of Sydney 2000, Michael Phelps' first Olympics
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Where are they now? The stars of Sydney 2000, Michael Phelps' first Olympics

Michael Phelps was 15 years old in the 2000 Olympics. He finished fifth in the 200-meter butterfly, his only event of the games.

Now 31, Phelps is the most decorated Olympian in history and is expected to medal again in Rio.

Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe won five medals, three of them gold, in 2000 as a 17-year-old.

Today, the "Thorpedo" does occasional media commentary, owns an aquatic center in Australia, and recently launched a line of pool cleaners called Thorpedo.

Nicknamed "Eric the Eel," Eric Moussambani, a swimmer from Equatorial Guinea, became a fan-favorite for his inspirational story, though he finished the 100-meter freestyle with the worst time in Olympic history.

Moussambani will attend the Rio Olympics as the coach of the Equatorial Guinea swim team.

Misty Hyman became the hero of US Swimming when she pulled off a major upset over Australia's Susie O'Neill to win gold in the 200-meter butterfly.

Hyman didn't qualify for the 2004 Olympics and retired from swimming. Today, she's an assistant coach for Arizona State University's swim team.

Dara Torres was another US swimming star, winning five medals, two gold in relays, after taking a seven-year break from swimming from 1992 to 1999.

Torres won 12 medals in her Olympic career. She is now an author and CBS Sports Network panelist.

Russian gymnast Alexei Nemov won the most medals in the entire games, pulling in two individual golds.

It's unclear what Nemov currently does, though he made headlines in 2016 for getting in an altercation with a political activist.

Michael Johnson concluded his legendary career with a gold medal in the 400 meters.

Widely considered the greatest 400-meter runner in history, Johnson now works with BBC and owns a training company called Michael Johnson Performance. He will be with BBC at Rio 2016.

Maurice Greene also starred for US track, winning a gold in the 100 meters and the 4x100-meter relay.

Greene retired as one of the best male sprinters, and has since appeared on "Dancing With the Stars" and volunteered as a track coach at UCLA.

Marion Jones dominated women's track for the US, winning five medals, three of them gold.

Jones was later stripped of those medals after admitting to taking performance-enhancing drugs. She has since written a book and become a public speaker.

Ato Boldon shined for the Trinidad and Tobago track team, pulling in a silver and bronze medal.

Today, Boldon is a track and field analyst for NBC Sports and ESPN.

Sprinter Cathy Freeman was a star for Australia in 2000. An Indigenous Australian, she won gold in the 400 meters and carried the torch in a spectacular opening ceremony.

Today, Freeman runs her own foundation focusing on the education of indigenous children and is an IOC Sport and Active Society Commission Member

Vince Carter was one of the stars of the US basketball team after pulling off "le dunk de la mort" — his wild dunk over 7-foot French center Frederic Weis.

Now, Carter is 39 years old and still playing in the NBA.

Meanwhile, Sheryl Swoopes averaged over 13 points per game to lead the US women to a gold medal.

Swoopes was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016 and was coaching the Loyola Chicago women's basketball team but was fired in 2016.

American wrestler Rulon Gardner became a legend when he pulled off a massive upset over Russian wrestler Alexander Karelin, who had not lost in 15 years.

Gardner has had a bit of a wild journey since 2000. He's attempted several comebacks, struggled with weight, appeared on "The Biggest Loser," and worked briefly as an analyst. He attempted to make the trials for Rio 2016 but was unsuccessful.

Lisa Fernandez set an Olympics softball strikeouts record for the US.

Today, Fernandez is an assistant coach for UCLA's softball team.

In 2000, Venus, 20, and Serena Williams, 18, won gold in women's doubles. Venus also won gold in women's singles.

Now, Serena is 34, Venus is 36, they're ranked first and sixth in the world, respectively, and own 114 combined singles titles.

In 2000, Lance Armstrong was 28 years old and fresh off his first Tour de France victory. He won bronze in the individual time trial.

Armstrong, of course, after his immense doping scandal, was stripped of his Olympic medal. Now, Armstrong has various projects, including a podcast.

Leontien Van Moorsel took home three gold medals in cycling for the Netherlands in her return from a battle with anorexia.

Van Moorsel is the most decorated women's cyclist of all-time and now owns Leontien Total Sports, a sportswear shop, and the Leontien Foundation, which raises money and awareness for eating disorders.

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As part of sweeping reforms initiated in 2014, hosts can bring in sports popular in their countries to boost ratings and attract greater sponsorship as well as a younger generation of fans.

"I am so happy and so thrilled and I my have lost some of my composure," Tokyo Games chief Yoshiro Mori said. "This was an epoch-making decision today."

Surfing, with 20 men and 20 women athletes, will take place in the sea, instead of on artificial waves, likely in the Prefecture of Chiba. Skateboarding, with two street and two park events involving 40 competitors each (20 male, 20 female), will be in Tokyo.

"This is a game-changing moment for surfing," said international federation president Fernando Aguerre.

"We are already seeing increased popularity of the sport across the world and the Olympic Games will provide an incredible platform to further showcase surfing."

Karate could use the Nippon budokan -- home of Japanese martial arts -- and will have two events (one men's and one women's) for kata and three weight classes for kumite.

Sports climbing, also in urban Tokyo, will feature men's and women's competitions for bouldering, lead and speed combined with a total of 474 athletes to compete in the five sports.

Venues are to be finalized by the end of the year, Mori said.

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