For the first time ever, women are set to comprise half of the athletes in Olympic competition next year in Paris, where the Summer Games will also mark another milestone for gender inclusivity.

Men will make their Olympic artistic swimming debut in the French capital, amid hopes they can help invigorate the sport and attract new participants.

"I got excited when I heard about it," 18-year-old Japanese male artistic swimmer Yotaro Sato said about the Olympic debut for men. "It's a dream stage for athletes."