These Six Sports are New to the Olympics for 2021
Just to avoid the social media cacophony let me clarify the headline for you. The Tokyo Olympic Games are set to open on July 23rd, 2021. The games were supposed to have been contested last year but because of the coronavirus pandemic, they were postponed. There are six sports that we are describing as "new" for the games this year. However, two of those sports are actually returning sports that have been on hiatus for over a decade.
The new sports in which competitors will compete for medals in Tokyo this year include skateboarding, sport climbing, surfing, and karate. The two sports that are making a return to the games are baseball and softball.
Here's the lay of the land on each sport.
The skateboard competition in Tokyo will take place at a custom-built skate park next to Tokyo Bay. The competitors, 40 men, and 40 women will be competing for medals in two different events. One is called "Park". That is where the contestants will skate in that designated skate park and ply the tricks of their trade-in that controlled environment.
The second medal event will be called "Street". This will see competitors negotiating tricks and flips and twists over stairs, stair rails, curbs, and other features you might encounter while skateboarding on the streets.
I don't think I could explain the Olympic Surfing event better to you than this video does in just one minute. It literally is all you need to know.
In case you're wondering, yes, this event will be contested in the open ocean. No, there is no way to guarantee that each competitor will have the same conditions when they compete. Such is the nature of surfing competitions. There will be competition for both women and men. In the men's division, the lineup of competitors from the USA is thought to be very strong. Meanwhile, in the women's division, the smart money is looking toward the women from Australia as having the best chance to take home gold.
This event will feature competitions for both men and women. Each competitor will compete in three disciplines of the sport. Those disciplines are lead climbing, speed climbing, and bouldering. If you're not sure exactly what those are, let's define them for you.
Lead climbing is as you might imagine a climbing style in which a roped climber takes the lead while other climbers follow. Speed climbing is as we might imagine as well. It is an all-out sprint to the top of the climbing wall. This might be the most competitive for viewers to watch as the competition is usually head to head. Bouldering is usually done without ropes and harnesses. It is more of a "grassroots" kind of climb. Where it's just climber against an obstacle.
Now you're probably thinking you have seen karate in the Olympic Games before. That was judo and it's different than karate. Karate competitors will compete in two types of events. They will compete in Kumite and Kata. According to Tokyo Officials, sixty competitors will compete in the Kumite competition while 20 will compete in the Kata competition.
Baseball is making its return at the Tokyo Olympic Games. It was last contested at the Olympics back in 2008. This year six nations have qualified teams for the tournament. Those nations include Japa, the host country, Israel, Mexico, South Korea, the Dominican Republic, and the United States. The games will be contested round-robin style and then proceed into a double-elimination format.
Softball was contested as an Olympic sport between 1996 and 2008. In 2008 Japan won the gold medal. The team from the United States finished second taking home the silver. Teams from Australia, Canada, Italy, Mexico, the United States, and the host nation Japan have qualified for this year's tournament. Like baseball, the teams will compete in a round-robin style tournament and then move into a double-elimination bracket.
After a delay of a year or so, it does look as if the Tokyo Games are ready to begin. The scheduled date is July 23rd and officials in Japan have taken some extraordinary measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 among athletes, coaches, and officials. In fact, the Japanese government has dictated that no fans will be allowed in the stands for the competition.
At least we can watch it on television. But remember, Tokyo is 14 hours ahead of us in the Central Time Zone, so I am guessing you'll need to wake up early, stay up late, or learn how to use that video recorder if you don't want to miss a minute of the action.
KEEP READING: See how sports around the world have been impacted by the coronavirus