Gender Equality Arrives at 2020 Olympic Games

By Kevin Farley | June 09, 2017, 1:30 p.m. (ET)
For the first time ever, gender equality in Weightlifting will be achieved at the Olympic Games after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board on Friday finalized the Olympic Program for the Games of the XXXII Olympiad. 

The IOC Executive Board approved 14 Olympic Weightlifting competitions in Tokyo in 2020 with men and women each being given seven weight category competitions. The IOC Executive Board's decision marks the reduction of one men's weight category from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro where 8 men and 7 women weight categories were contested. According to the IOC, to reach gender equality, it needed to reduce the quota for weightlifting by 64 athletes. 

"USA Weightlifting applauds the International Olympic Committee and the International Weightlifting Federation for taking this critical step towards gender equality and to retain Weightlifting's place at the very core of the Olympic Games Program," USA Weightlifting CEO Phil Andrews said. "We are, of course, very sad to see that the total number of Olympic events is reduced to 14 total, and we wait to see the next steps regarding team size, qualification and which categories will be contested in Tokyo."

The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) will decide qualification procedures, team size and weight categories will be contested at the Olympic Games. 

In 2016, the IWF added an eighth weight category for women (90kg) to equal the total number of weight categories offered to men. 

Weightlifting is one of the 28 sports represented on the Tokyo 2020 Program. Last year, the IOC added Surf, Sport Climbing, Skateboard, Karate and Baseball/Softball as new sports to the Tokyo 2020 Program.

"The decision marks a key milestone in the evolution of the Olympic Program by introducing youth-focused innovation, increasing gender equality, and reducing the overall size of the Games," the IWF said in a statement.

More details are available from the International Olympic Committee.