After a wait which extended an extra year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tokyo Olympics are finally upon us. In every edition, we see a host of new events making their debuts or returning to the Games; this year, we have six sports making a fitting arrival in the Olympics.
Sport Climbing is making an appearance in Tokyo this year, and Skateboarding; which features the youngest British athlete in the Games (Sky Brown, 13); will also be featuring in the Olympics. Karate, a form of martial art originated in Okinawa in Japan, is also among the new sports in the Tokyo edition alongside surfing, baseball and softball.
Let’s take a detailed look at the six new sports at the Olympics this year:
Sport Climbing (also called Wall Climbing):
In the Olympics, this sport will consist of three disciplines: speed climbing, bouldering and lead climbing. In speed climbing, two athletes will attach themselves to ropes and race on a 15-meter high wall.
In bouldering, the athletes won’t be given ropes. Instead, they will race on a fixed route on a 4-meter high wall — as high as they can in 4 minutes. In lead climbing, safety ropes will be used as athletes climb on a 15-metre high wall. Whoever reaches more distance wins.
In the Olympics, the athletes will be given combined scores, which will form basis for their final ranking.
Here is an explainer:
A sport which often remained confined to the streets will now be going global with its entry in the Olympics. Skateboarding will have two separate events; street and park.
The street event will replicate the street course, featuring stairs, ramps and rails. The athletes will be given scores on the basis of difficulty in their tricks, speed, originality and height.
The park course is made in a bowl-shape, and athletes will be judged on their tricks and speed. The participants will use the inclines on the course to gather momentum.
Watch the explainer:
A martial art form originated in the Ryuku dynasty in Okinawa, Karate will be joining Taekwondo and Judo in the Olympics. The Olympics will feature two forms of Karate — Kata and Kumite.
Kata is a solo form discipline in which the competitor will be given points on the basis of 7 technical criterias; stances, techniques, transitional movements, timing, correct breathing, focus and conformance.
In Kumite, two competitors will face each other in a three-minute match. However, an individual will be declared as winner if they amass eight points more than their competitor at any point in the game.
Baseball & Softball
Baseball will return after its absence in the previous two editions of the Olympics. It will feature both men’s and women’s events; six countries will be participating in the sport at the Tokyo Olympics.
Two teams take their turns for batting and fielding when the fielding teams secures three ‘outs’. Each turn is called an innings and each game consists of nine innings. The team with the most runs at the end of the game wins.
Softball is largely similar to baseball; except that the fielding team bowls with an underarm movement and the ball used in the sport is larger than that of baseball. The size of the field in softball is smaller to that of baseball, and the bats used in the former are also smaller in comparison. Additionally, there are seven innings in a softball game.
Surfing will make its Olympic debut in this edition, in both men’s and women’s events. Four athletes will participate at the same time during the event, and points will be given on the basis of their performances in manoevering the waves through the 20-25 minute period.
The top-two among the four will qualify for the next round.
New event in existing sport – 3×3 Basketball
3×3 basketball is a variation of basketball, played three-a-side with one basketball hoop. It is played on half-court.
Here is an explainer for the sport: