Here's Everything You Need to Know About the 5 New Sports You'll See at the 2020 Olympics
Attention all diehard sports fans (and casual fans who only follow major sporting events): there are five new Olympic sports coming to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics! The surfing, sport climbing, karate, and skateboarding competitions will appear for the first-time ever, with baseball and softball making a return to the Summer Olympics for the first time since 2008.
The 2020 Olympic games kick off in less than a year, and it's never too early to study up on the new sports and the badass athletes to watch. To find out more about each of the five new sports, continue reading.
Considered "an essential feature of street culture" by the official Tokyo 2020 website, skateboarding is making its debut at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. There will be two disciplines at the Summer games: street and park and each will include both men's and women's events.
The street competition will be held on a "street-like" course with stairs, handrails, curbs, benches, walls, and slopes. Every competitor will perform individually and will show off their range of skills. They'll be judged on the degree of difficulty of each trick, height, speed, originality, and how they execute each move.
The park competition will take place in a hollowed-out course that will resemble large dishes and dome shaped bowls. Competitors will be judged on height, speed, difficulty, originality, and mid-air tricks.
Male athletes to watch: Chris Joslin, Jagger Eaton, Tom Schaar, Alex Sorgente, Zion Wright, and Tristan Rennie.
Female athletes to watch: Brighton Zeuner, Bryce Wettstein, Jordyn Barratt, Nicole Hause, Alexis Sablone, Jenn Soto, Lacey Baker, and Mariah Duran.
You'll be in awe at the strength of the athletes in the sport climbing competition. There will be three disciplines: speed climbing, bouldering, and lead climbing.
Two competitors will face off in the speed climbing competition as they climb a 15-meter wall. In the bouldering competition, athletes have to scale fixed routes on a four-meter wall in a specified period of time. The lead climbing competition requires athletes to climb as high as they can up a 15-meter wall in a set time frame.
Each climber will have to compete in all three disciplines, and their scores will be combined to determine the final rankings. Climbers must climb with their bare hands and climbing shoes; safety ropes are allowed.
Male athletes to watch: Jakob Schubert, Tomoa Narasaki, Kai Harada, Alex Megos, and Jernej Kruder.
Female athletes to watch: Ashima Shiraishi, Alex Johnson, Valentina Aguado, Janja Garnbret, and Akiyo Noguchi.
Get ready to watch the best surfers in the world compete at the 2020 Olympics. Surfing was added "to bring more youthful and vibrant activities into the Olympic program," according tothe Tokyo 2020 website.
There are a variety of boards that can be used to surf but at the 2020 Olympics, the 20 men and 20 women competitors will be required to use a shortboard.
Four athletes will compete at a time, and the best two will advance to the next round. The heat lengths will depend on the condition of the waves but will last around 20 to 30 minutes. Athletes will be able to ride 10 to 12 waves in that time frame and their two highest scores will be counted.
A panel of judges will determine the winners in both the men's and women's competition. Scoring is based on the type and difficulty of the maneuvers performed along with the speed, power, and flow.
Male competitors to watch: John John Florence, Gabriel Medina, Adriano De Souza, and Kolohe Andino.
Female competitors to watch: Tyler Wright, Stephanie Gilmore, Sally Fitzgibbons, and Carissa Moore.
There will be 80 athletes competing in the karate event at the 2020 Olympics. There are two men's and women's kata (forms) events and three classes each for the men's and women's kumite (sparring) events.
The kata events demonstrate forms that consist of sequences of offensive and defensive moves "targeting a virtual opponent." Competitors are scored based on the strength, speed, power, rhythm, balance, and power of their kicks and strikes. They're also scored based on the proper meaning and expression of the technique.
In the kumite events, two karateka (a karate practitioner) compete against one another. There are only three offensive techniques allowed: striking, kicking, and punching. The athlete's attacks are judged based on form, power, and control. They can earn one to three points for each attack. "A competitor wins by amassing eight points more than their opponent within the duration of the bout or by gaining more points than their opponent in the allotted time (three minutes)," the official Tokyo 2020 site said.
Male athletes to watch: Ryo Kiyuna, Damian Quintero, Antonio Diaz, Mattia Busato, Darkhan Assadilov, Steven Dacosta, Angelo Crescenzo, Ali Elsawy, and Ali Sofuoglu.
Female athletes to watch: Kiyou Shimzu, Sandra Sánchez, Viviana Bottaro, Mo Sheung Grace Lau, Sakura Kokumai, Maria Dimitrova, Serap Ozcelik, Anzhelika Terliuga, Bettina Plank, Miho Miyahara, and Tzu-Yun Wen.
Baseball and Softball
2008 was the last year baseball and softball were contested, and we're so excited for them to return to the 2020 Olympics.
The teams will consist of nine players in both competitions. The objective is to score as many runs (running around all bases to home plate) as possible.
Baseball teams to keep an eye on: USA, Cuba, and South Korea.
Softball teams to keep an eye on: USA and Japan.
To learn more, visit teamusa.org. The Tokyo Olympics begin in one year on NBC.