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What Are the New Olympic Sports for the Tokyo 2020 Games?

When we think about the Olympic Games, more traditional sports like swimming, weightlifting, track and field come to mind. However, the Tokyo Games will see four new Olympic sports added to the competitive landscape, along with two additional disciplines in already existing events. The new Olympic sports introduced this year include surfing, karate, skateboarding, and sports climbing. The 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo will now reach 34 sports in total, making it the largest event in its 125-year history.

Why Were New Sports Added for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics?

As outlined in Olympic Agenda 2020, the International Olympic Committee introduced changes intended to make the Olympic games ‘fit for the future’ in December 2014. This allows for organising committees of each Games to propose new events and the Tokyo Games were the first to take advantage of this change.

What Are the New Sports at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics?

In an effort to increase the appeal, the new Olympic sports 2021 has introduced certainly elevate the excitement. With a focus on the extreme, the new Tokyo sports are bold, exciting and heart-racing. Here is a list of the new Olympic sports for the Tokyo Games.

Owen Wright Surfing
Image: Getty Images

1. Surfing

Surfing is making its first Olympic start in Tokyo, with the event taking place at Tsurigasaki Beach in Ichinomiya, located roughly 100km from Tokyo. A total of 40 athletes (20 men and women) will compete from 20 countries, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, France, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Peru, Portugal, South Africa and United States.

Who to watch

It is no secret that Australia has a number of top talent in the sport and has brought in the big guns including Owen Wright, Julian Wilson in men’s as well as Stephanie Gilmore and Sally Fitzgibbons in the women’s. The USA team will be strong, featuring the likes of WSL stars John John Florence and four-time world champion Carissa Moore. Others to consider include the number one ranked Brazilian surfer Gabriel Medina and local hero Kanoa Igarashi.

Surfing Schedule

The schedule for the surfing events is flexible based on surf conditions, however it is expected to take place between July 24th and July 31st.

Karate Tokyo Games
Image: Getty Images

2. Karate

Karate originated in Japan, so it’s fitting that it makes its Olympic debut in Tokyo. The event will consist of 80 competitors across two disciplines: Kata and Kumite. Kata is where athletes are judged on their form and technique, whereas Kumite involves athletes facing off head to head on the mat.

Who to watch

Born in the Karate heartland of Okinawa, gold favourite Ryo Kiyuna is a three-time world champion. His main competition will be the world’s current top-ranked male, Damian Quintero of Spain. Sandra Sanchez, also from Spain, is a six-time women’s European champion and is considered the probable to take out gold in the Kata event. Australia will only feature one representative in Karate, Tsuneari Yahiro, who will compete in the men’s Kumite event.

Karate Schedule

The Kata and Kumite events will take place from August 5th to August 7th, for both men and women.

Skateboarding Olympics
Image: Getty Images

3. Skateboarding

Another action sport added to the Tokyo Olympic program is skateboarding, which will host 80 contestants from 18 different nations. Skateboard will have two distinct formats: Street and Park. The street event will challenge skaters on a course featuring rails, stairs and ramp obstacles. The Park event will be contested in a dome-shaped bowl, with participants scored on their ability to maintain flow whilst executing tricks.

Who to watch

Five skaters from Australia have made the trip to Tokyo, including former world champion Shane O’Neill, competing in the male street competition. Our best chance in the Park format will be National Women’s Bowl Riding champion, Poppy Nelson. Competing against Nelson will be one of the more fascinating stories of the Tokyo Games, 13-year-old Brit Sky Brown. Not only is she Britain’s youngest summer Olympics athlete, but will also be a strong contender for the podium after attaining the Bronze at the 2019 World Championships. The highest paid name in the sport, American Nyjay Houston, who’s already claimed 12 X Games titles, will be the kick-flipping favourite in the mens street.

Skateboarding Schedule

The Street event will take place from Sunday July 25th to Monday July 26th. The Park competition will be held Wednesday August 4th to Thursday August 5th.

Sports Climbing
Image: Fox Sports

4. Sports Climbing

Sports climbing may be the most unknown sporting addition to the 2020 Games. With 40 climbers making the trip to Tokyo, the sport will feature as a single event across three disciplines including speed, bouldering and lead. Speed involves climbers racing up a 15 metre wall on identical routes to see who’s the quickest to the top. In bouldering, each competitor will navigate across 4.5 metre high boulders with different overhangs and slopes. Lead climbing demands contestants climb as high as they can on a 15 metre wall over the course of six minutes. Of the three disciplines, the scores will be multiplied with the top eight progressing to the medal round.

Who To Watch

Slovenian six-time world champion Janja Ganrnbret will be the top pick for the gold medal in the women’s event, while five-time champion Adam Ondra from the Czech Republic will be highly favoured in the men’s event. The Australian contingent consists of 28-year-old Tom O’Halloran from Blackheath,NSW and 18-year-old Oceana Mackenzie from Melbourne.

Sports Climbing Schedule

Sports climbing will be held from Tuesday August 3rd to Friday August 6th.

General FAQs

What are the new Olympic sports for Tokyo 2020?

The new Olympic sports introduced this year include surfing, karate, skateboarding, and sports climbing. The 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo will now reach 34 sports in total, making it the largest event in its 125-year history.

Why were new sports added to the Olympic Games?

Back in 2014, the International Olympic Committee outlined in the Olympic Agenda 2020 that they were looking to make the Games fit for the future. This meant organising committees for each Games to propose new events, with Tokyo being the first to really take advantge, adding four new sports and two extra disciplines.