New Sports Added to the 2020 Summer Olympics


Zoe Lin, Staff Writer

On July 24, the 2020 Summer Olympics will commence in Tokyo, Japan. This year, there are 33 sports scheduled; among those 33 sports are five new sports that have been added to the program. The decision to include these sports was made by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2016. With the five new sports, there will also be an additional 18 events and 474 athletes.

Softball, along with baseball, was last played in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing before the IOC made the decision to drop both sports from future programs. Both sports have been revived as part of the event for this year’s Olympics. Six men’s and women’s teams will be selected to participate in the event. Softball teams will include 15 players while baseball teams will have 24.

Karate will be making its first appearance at the Olympics this year and will feature two events: Kumite and Kata. There will be 60 competitors that will participate in the Kumite competition and 20 in the Kata competition. Athletes competing in kumite will compete in three different weight classes while kata is a single event for each gender.

Like karate, skateboarding will make its Olympic debut this year and will be held at the Ariake Urban Sports Park. The competition consists of two events: park and street. Both events have prelims and finals rounds. In both park and street competitions, 20 competitors will compete in prelims, and eight skaters will move on to the finals round. For park, each skater will perform three 45-second runs in each round. As for street, skaters will complete two 45-second runs and five tricks.

Sport Climbing
Sport climbing is another sport making its first appearance at an Olympic event. It will include three disciplines: Speed, Bouldering, and Lead. In Speed, two climbers will compete against each other by climbing on a 12m wall. Bouldering includes a 4m wall, where climbers must scale a number of routes within a certain time frame. As for Lead, climbers must climb as high as they can on a wall over 12m within a predetermined time. All competitors in sport climbing will have to engage in all three disciplines.

The last sport to make its Olympic debut at the 2020 Summer Olympics is surfing. This sport will take place in the ocean, where 20 men and 20 women will use shortboards to compete. There will be initial and main rounds before gold and bronze medal matches. Because the condition of waves, direction and power of the wind, and the ebb of the tide are all factors that cannot be controlled, surfing will challenge athletes to balance competition with the uncertain conditions of nature.

With these five sports added to the Summer Olympics, many spectators are excited to see what dynamics these sports will bring to the event. IOC President Thomas Bach stated, “the five sports are an innovative combination of established and emerging, youth-focused events that are popular in Japan and will add to the legacy of the Tokyo Games.”