Tokyo 2020 is just around the corner and it promises to be the greatest iteration of the most popular sporting event in the world we have ever seen. One of the changes to the previous games includes five new sports and several events that are sure to spice up this year’s Olympics, meaning that there are going to be 33 different sports.
The five new sports that will grace the event with their presence are baseball/softball, karate, sport climbing, surfing, and skateboarding. While some may argue that three out of those five are not event sports, we would like to take this opportunity to remind you that e-sports are a thing.
Despite the sport being famous as America’s favorite pastime, baseball is going to make an appearance.
This is amazing news, considering baseball and softball have not been a part of the Olympics since 2008. All of the participants for baseball are yet to be announced, but we do know that there are going to be six of them, four of which are already known.
Japan qualifies as the host of the event. Israel won the Africa/Europe Qualifying Event, and South Korea and Mexico came out on top during the 2019 WBSC Premier12. We expect the USA to qualify for one of the remaining two spots.
Karate was one of the sports rejected in 2013, but the IOC recognized the martial art for this particular event. There is no confirmation that karate is going to remain after 2020. The competition will involve Kata, or forms, for men and for women, and Kumite, or sparring, in three different weight categories. There are going to be 80 athletes from over 20 countries.
A sport that is making its debut at the Olympics is sport climbing. It will feature two events, one for men and the other for women.
The inclusion of this sport in the competition has faced some criticism, mainly due to the inclusion of, or, rather, combining, three different climbing disciplines: lead climbing, speed climbing, and bouldering. Several climbers were outrages at this and for a good reason. Imagine a tennis tournament between badminton, table tennis, and squash players. However, the International Federation of Sport Climbing only has two gold medals to give out, so the athletes will have to make do this year.
Another debutant is surfing. The competition is going to take place in the ocean and not a wave pool. The location of the competition is going to be Shida, a beach in Chiba. Because of the weather and the fickle conditions, there is going to be a waiting period of little over two weeks.
There are going to be 20 men and 20 women competing. There are 18 people that have already qualified for the competition. The rules state that there can only be two athletes per country.
Last, but not least, we have skateboarding, which is also appearing here for the first time. Legends Tony Hawk and Titus Dittmann have expressed some of their concerns regarding how this is going to affect the sport. The qualified athletes are yet to be announced, but we are certain that we would have seen either Hawk or Dittmann in the Olympics had this decision come out a few decades earlier.
This is going to be a special treat, seeing as how there are skateboarding competitions, but the contest of this scale might limit the performance of the athletes and smother the development of the discipline. We are going to see how things play out at the games.