Mixed-gender events in swimming and track added to 2020 Olympics

Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky will never be Olympic relay partners but it’s still cool to dream. (Getty Images)

Imagine Natalie Coughlin diving into the Olympic pool after Michael Phelps touched the wall.

Or a team of male and female runners from the United States standing atop the podium together.

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Neither scenario was possible in the past, but men and women runners and swimmers will get the opportunity to compete together at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The IOC approved nine new mixed-gender events at a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland on Friday, doubling the number of mixed events held at Rio 2016.

Swimming will get a 4 x 100 mixed medley relay added to its program while track will feature a 4 x 400 meter relay. Both sports feature these events at their respective world championships.

Mixed events for archery, judo, shooting, sailing, triathlon and table tennis were also added.

The additions were announced as the IOC finalized its Tokyo program. 3-on-3 basketball was officially added as the total of medal events went from 306 at the 2016 Rio Games to 321 in Tokyo.

The IOC is pushing for more gender balance among its sports and made several adjustments to the number of both events and athletes to do so. 2020 Tokyo will feature 285 fewer athletes than Rio. Weightlifting and wrestling were hit the hardest with a a total of 120 athletes “reduced” to “reach gender balance.”

Two new swimming events were also added: A 800-meter freestyle for men and the 1,500-meter freestyle for women. The latter could help American great Katie Ledecky add to her career medal haul as she’s the current women’s world record-holder in the distance.