Skateboarding? Surfing? Escalation? new sports shake up Olympic traditions | BU today

The rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games finally begin on Friday. As well as being a long-awaited return to Olympic competition, this summer’s Games will feature six new events and three spin-offs from existing events that are sure to entertain, and possibly confuse, fans around the world. .

The International Olympic Committee allows its host cities to propose new events before each Olympics, often introducing emerging sports or games that are popular in their country. This year, the Tokyo Olympics were expanded to include a record 339 medals.

New sport

One of the newest Olympic sports is skateboarding, and this is already planned to continue in Paris in 2024. The male and female competitors will cover the park and street divisions: the skate park will take place on courses in smooth concrete bowls – like massive, empty swimming pools – and street skate will be around courses with real world objects like rails and stairs. A panel of judges will mark each round.

Surfing will also be added to this year’s and upcoming Games, serving as yet another example of the growing popularity of action sports. The event will take place at Tsurigasaki Beach and the date will be determined based on the best wave conditions. Six surfers from the United States will participate, covering both the men’s and women’s divisions.

Nyjah Huston, an American professional skateboarder, grinds a rail on July 21 in Tokyo, Japan during a street skateboarding workout for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Photo by AP / Gregory Bull

Sport climbing is one of the youngest sports to make its Olympic debut, officially becoming an organized sport only in 1985 and growing rapidly since. While climbers typically specialize in one area – speed, bouldering, or lead – Olympic climbers will face off against all three disciplines, collecting a combined score that will be used to name the top male and female climbers.

Karate is on the opposite end of the spectrum of ages, finally making its debut after its origins centuries ago. The event will test three weight classes of male and female athletes in kata, a solo competition to assess technique, and in kumite, based on individual sparring. Although not renewed at the Paris Games, karate is a staple in Japanese sporting history and a unique and exciting addition.

Return sport

Baseball and soft ball will both be revived at the Games after their withdrawal in 2008, although neither will appear at the 2024 Olympics in Paris. Both will feature a six-team tournament, with baseball hosting the Dominican Republic, Israel, Japan, Mexico, South Korea and the United States, and softball hosting Australia, Canada, Italy, the Japan, Mexico and the United States.

When these sports were last played at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Japan beat the United States to win the softball title, while South Korea defeated Cuba in baseball. As the home of respected professional baseball league Nippon, Japan has long been a baseball hotspot, producing star players, such as the recent Major League Baseball phenomenon – on the mound and on the plate – Shohei Ohtani.

New varieties of current sports

Basketball fans will be eager to see the Olympic debut of three-on-three basketball, reducing the size of teams from five to three and cutting the field in half. There will be men’s and women’s groups, just like traditional Olympic basketball, but games will be played away and end when a team reaches 21 points or when a 10-minute buzzer sounds.

BMX freestyle will be offered as an extension of cycling, derived from BMX racing, an Olympic sport since 2008. Like skateboarding, BMX freestyle will revolve around the performance of athletes in an isolated BMX park. The riders will have several attempts to perform their best tricks, and the judges will be on hand to select the winners.

The final introduction is mixed team events, encouraging competition regardless of gender. Swimmers will compete in relay teams with two men and two women, male and female archers will compete head-to-head and triathletes will join forces on the track for a two-man and two-woman relay.

In addition, judo will form teams in six gender divisions and three different weight categories, athletics will be a relay with two men and two women, shooting will involve male and female athletes, and table tennis. will be played out as a mixed doubles event.

Spectators will not be allowed at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, as announced earlier this month. However, fans will still have a lot to look forward to with these new sports and countless classics airing internationally between July 23 and August 8. American viewers can enjoy the action through NBC’s media channels, such as and Peacock.

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