First reaction to the idea of adding surfing to the Olympics, maybe with an artificial wave pool: “Hey, let’s see if we can make the Olympics more expensive to host! Maybe we can build more single-use venues!”
Wrestling had to fight to stay in the Olympics, and all they need from a physical point of view to host that is a gym in which they can put down some mats. Baseball and softball are out, and they only required some dirt and some bleachers. The post-Games use for those venues could be everything from more baseball to pastures for cows.
So in the current climate, with the Summer Games at maximum capacity by any measure, surfing simply can’t be added.
Key phrase: “in the current climate.” So we would need to add a wrinkle somehow, and that brings us to a radical idea I’ve kicked around in my head a bit.
Suppose you added another Olympics beyond the Winter and Summer Olympics. Or a couple of offshoot Olympics.
You could have a Modern Summer Games, adding skateboarding, roller sports and sport climbing while shifting a few sports lost in the current Summer program — trampoline and other non-traditional gymnastics, synchronized swimming, rugby sevens, etc.
And you could have an Ocean Games. Sailing is always stuck by itself, nowhere near the rest of the Olympic venues. Why not surround it with wakeboarding (which bid for 2020 inclusion), surfing and a few other ocean or beach events? Maybe have open-water swimming at those Games so swimmers would have a better chance of swimming in the traditional pool in the traditional Summer Games and then shift gears for open-water races.
The current Summer Games are far too big. The options are to cut them or spread them out. Those of us dreading the 28-month gap between Olympics would prefer the latter. So would surfers, surely.