The Olympic movement is facing an unlikely question: Are you ready for some football?
America's most-popular game is among 26 sports that applied Friday to be part of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The list also includes tug of war, bridge, chess and orienteering.
As part of its recent Agenda 2020 reforms, the
Japanese organizers said they are looking for newcomers who "will serve as a driving force to promote the Olympic Movement and its values, with a focus on youth appeal."
Officials plan to announce a finalist group by June 22, then make their recommendations in late September. The IOC has until August 2016 to decide on which, if any, sports would be added.
Baseball and softball, which were dropped after 2008, appear to have the best chance of returning, if only because they are popular in Japan. The submission from the International Federation of American Football figures to be a long shot.
Other applicants are: Air sports, bowls, bowling, dance sport, floorball, flying disc, karate, korfball, netball, polo, racquetball, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, sumo, surfing, underwater sports, waterski and wakeboard, and wushu.