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5 New Olympic Sports Arriving At Tokyo 2020

skateboarder riding on a ramp with a sunset in the backgroundSource: Shawn Henry

The thrill of sport is a universal passion. Take online slots, for example. A game of strategy and skill, this classic online game has been a hit all around the globe. Another time-tested, international hit is the Olympic Games, showcasing the best athletes in the world. If you are a fan of the Olympics and great sportsmanship, you know the next Summer Games in Tokyo are less than a year away from July 24 to August 9. Hotly anticipated, these games attract a huge international following. This upcoming 32nd Olympic game event promises to be especially spectacular thanks to the inclusion of four brand new sports and a returning favourite.

New Sports for a New Generation

Wherever you may be when you watch the Summer Olympics next year, get excited for these new sports as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) strives to pull in a new, younger audience.

Skateboarding – From the streets and skate parks of southern California to the famous Dew Tour, skateboarding has come a long way. Growing in popularity throughout the last several decades, finally this well-loved sport is making it to the Olympics in 2020.

Debuting in Tokyo, athletes will be able to compete in two different events: park and street. The “street” course simulates street skating, complete with stairs, ramps, and rails on which skaters show off their tricks, twists, and manoeuvres. Athletes will compete in three timed runs where they will be scored on tricks, speed, height, and originality. The highest score applies towards their overall placing.

Park is performed on a course with sloped sides that includes half pipes, ramps, bowls, and quarter pipes. Skaters use the sloping walls of the course to build momentum and perform complex manoeuvres. In park, competitors are judged in areas like speed, height, and grabs used while performing tricks.

Sport Climbing – Following the extreme sport model that the IOC has set in place, sport climbing is a triathlon event jammed into one day. Including lead climbing, bouldering, and speed climbing, all three competitions test athletes’ stamina, strength, and heart as they grapple for the gold. Final rankings are determined by combined scores.

Lead climbing involves participants climbing as high as they possibly can on a 15-metre high wall within six minutes. Using safety ropes, if two people arrive at the same distance, the person with the faster time wins. Bouldering is climbing without safety ropes. The individuals try to climb up as many fixed routes on a 4-metre high wall as quickly as they can within four minutes. Speed climbing involves two athletes, secured to ropes, racing on a fixed route as they shimmy up a 15-metre wall.

man using an anchor to climb the side of a mountainSource: REI

Surfing – In 2020, 20 men and 20 women will surf in the shortboard division at Shidashita Beach, near Tokyo. The competition involves four athletes competing together at a time during heats that last 20 to 25 minutes. During each heat each wave may have only one rider. This allows judges to rate competitors not on how many waves they catch but by difficulty of manoeuvre The larger the wave, the higher the scores.

Final scores will be extracted from the athlete’s two highest scores, taking the two top surfers of the preliminary round onto the next tier.

person surfing into a large, aquamarine wave Source: Pixabay

Karate – Karate is extremely popular in Japan and was also originated in Okinawa during the Ryukyu Dynasty. This deep-seated history in Japan makes it even more significant that karate is making its Olympic debut in 2020. Now karate will join judo, taekwondo, and wrestling as an Olympic fighting art.

At the Olympics, both men and women will perform in two disciplines: kata and kumite. Kata is based on form and involves athletes demonstrating multiple offensive and defensive movements against a virtual opponent. They will be evaluated on strength, speed, rhythm, balance, and power via a points system.

Kumite is a sparring discipline and involves two competitors of similar weight facing off in an 8 by 8-metre area for three minutes. In this test of strategy and wills, competitors will be judged on form, power, and control as they execute land strikes, kicks, and punches. Whomever has been awarded the most points at the end of the match or first gains an eight-point lead will be declared the winner.

two competitors engaged in combat during opening ceremony of 2019 African GamesSource: World Karate Federation

Baseball and Softball

Not completely new to the Olympics, baseball and softball have been on a hiatus for the last eleven years. The two sports (baseball for men and softball for women) will make a comeback at Tokyo 2020. Baseball is almost as popular in Japan as karate is, likely presenting a strong motivation for its return.

female softball player launches a pitch during semi-finals Source: USA For the Win

Both sports are similar, based on the three outs rules and nine-inning structure. Tied scores are managed with extra innings. The main difference between the two sports is that softball is played with a larger ball on a smaller field and the pitcher throws underhand from flat ground. Baseball bats are longer and heavier, and the pitcher throws overhand from a pitcher’s mound.

What sport are you most excited to see in 2020? If you like new, interesting sports, you may also enjoy this sports lovers article.