6 new and returning sports to watch at the 2020 Summer Olympics

Shortboard surfing makes its Olympic debut in 2020.

Jeremy Bishop/Unsplash

If you’ve been experiencing withdrawals since the Women’s World Cup ended last month, we’ve got some good news: The 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo are less than a year away. Even more reason to be excited is that there will be six brand new sports coming to the 2020 Olympics, and two returning favorites to watch.

While gymnastics, swimming and track and field usually steal the show, there are even more events to watch in 2020. Get excited: Here’s what’s on tap.

Read more: Tokyo 2020 shows off Olympic medals made from old phones

New Summer Olympics 2020 sports


Fittingly, karate — a martial art that originated in Okinawa during the Ryukyu Dynasty — makes its Olympic debut in Tokyo, joining judo, taekwondo and wrestling. It consists of two disciplines for both men and women: kata (forms) and kumite (sparring).

In kata, the athletes demonstrate a series of offensive and defensive movements against a virtual opponent and are evaluated on strength, speed, rhythm, balance and power, among other things, using a points system.

In kumite, two weight-matched competitors face off in an 8 by 8 meter area for 3 minutes. They’re awarded points when they land strikes, kicks or punches with good form, power and control on the target area of their opponent’s body. The person with the most points at the end of the match or the first person to amass an eight-point lead is declared the winner. Want to dive deeper into karate? Head to the for more.

Skateboarding will bring a dash of street culture to the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

Josh Hild/Unsplash


Once a sport relegated to the streets of southern California and mostly niche competitions, skateboarding is making its Olympic debut. Men’s and women’s Olympic skateboarding will consist of two events: park and street. The street course is designed to replicate street skating, with stairs, ramps and rails that riders can use to put together a series of tricks. Athletes skate individually on three timed runs and are scored on things like the difficulty of their tricks, speed, height and originality. Only their highest-scoring run is taken into consideration for overall rankings.

The park event takes place on more of a bowl-shaped course, in the sense that it looks hollowed out. Riders use the inclines within the course to build momentum and perform tricks. They’re judged on difficulty and originality, among other things. Learn more about competitive skateboarding.

Sport Climbing

Bouldering walls are shorter but include a variety of challenges, like tiny holds and overhangs.

Bhargava Marripati/Unsplash

In the Olympics, men’s and women’s sport climbing will consist of three disciplines: speed climbing, bouldering and lead climbing. In speed climbing, two athletes secure themselves to ropes and race each other on a fixed route to the top of a 15-meter high wall.

Bouldering involves climbers — without safety ropes — individually trying to ascend as many fixed routes on a 4-meter high wall as they can within 4 minutes. And in lead climbing, athletes will try to climb as high as they can on a 15-meter high wall within 6 minutes, again using safety ropes. If two people reach the same height, the person who did it fastest wins.

Although climbers compete in these three events separately in world cup competition, each Olympic athlete will have to participate in each one. Final rankings will be determined by combined scores. Learn more about sport climbing.


Surfing makes its Olympic debut next year when women and men shortboard competitors hit Shidashita Beach on Japan’s Pacific coast. Four athletes compete at a time, with each heat lasting 20 to 25 minutes, depending on the quality of the waves. During that time each wave can only have one rider. Instead of being judged on how many waves they catch, the athletes are judged on the difficulty of the maneuvers they perform, with masterful execution on large waves bringing the highest scores. An athlete’s two highest scores count, with the two surfers at the top of the rankings moving on to the next round. Learn more about competitive surfing.

Sports returning to the Summer Olympics in 2020

Baseball and Softball

After being absent from the last two Summer Olympics, men’s baseball and women’s softball return to the summer Olympic Games. Though baseball not being wildly popular around the world, only six countries will compete.

In both sports, two teams alternate between batting and fielding when the fielding team secures three “outs.” Each round of hitting and fielding makes up what’s called an “inning” and each game consists of nine innings. The team with the most runs after nine innings wins. Tied scores are resolved through extra innings.

After a two-Games hiatus, both softball and baseball will be back in the Summer Olympics lineup in 2020.


Baseball and softball are both played in roughly the same manner with a few differences: Softball is played with a larger ball on a small field and the pitcher throws underhand from flat ground (not a mound). Softball bats also tend to be shorter, lighter and smaller in diameter. Learn more about baseball and softball.

There are tons of new events too

In addition to the new and returning sports above, the International Olympic Committee has also given the green light to a variety of new events within basketball, swimming, track and field and more. Check out a complete list at teamusa.org and then read about how you might be to still score tickets to the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

Five new sports set to spice up the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

With the summer Olympic games in Tokyo just over 14 months away, now is a good time to explore the new sports which have been added to the 2020 Olympics.

Every four years new sports are added to the both the summer and winter Olympic games. In some instances sports are even retracted — as was the case with Cricket — which was last played in the 1900 Paris Olympics.

Five new sports have been added to the Tokyo Games coming up in 2020. They are baseball/softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing. The last three sports mentioned can all be classified as extreme sports which is testament to sporting taste of the current generation.

What do each of these sports entail, and what we can expect to see from them in the 2020 Games?


The popularity of baseball in Japan has undoubtedly played a part in ushering this sport into the 2020 Olympics. The general consensus asserts that baseball derives from another bat and ball sport called Rounders, popular in Great Britain and Ireland in the 18th century.

A game of baseball is played between two teams, each composed of nine players, that take turns playing offense and defense. The team playing offense bats and the team playing defense pitches and fields.

A standard game consists of nine innings. The goal of the game is to score more points in the form of runs than the other team. A run is constituted by literally running from base to base, with the objective being to complete a run by reaching all four bases. A player may only run when the ball is hit in front of the foul lines which sits at 45 degree angles to the batters home plate.


Softball is a variant of baseball and will be played by women at the 2020 Olympics. The main differences between the two is that in softball the ball is larger, the parameters of the field are smaller, and the pitchers throws the ball underhand instead of overhand.

It is rather surprising that karate is only making its debut in the Olympics in 2020, considering that many other martial arts such as judo, boxing, wrestling and tae kwon do have been in the Olympics for decades.

Karate is a mixed martial art in the fact that it includes a multitude of moves such as punching, kicking, knee strikes, elbow strikes and open-hand techniques such as knife-hands, spear-hands and palm-heel strikes.

Two disciplines of karate will feature at the 2020 Olympics. Kumite is the sparring discipline and will have three weight classes each for men and women. Kata is the form discipline and will have one event each for men and women. There will only be three weight categories as opposed to the usual five used by the World Karate Federation.

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In an attempt to keep the Olympics relevant for the millennial generation, skateboarding, is a new sport that is being added to the 2020 games. Skateboarding has long been considered a counter-culture sport which involves making dynamic moves on a wooden board with two pairs of wheels on it.

There will be two disciplines in the 2020 Games, namely, Park and Street. Park involves skating on a series of ramps, including, half pipes, bowls and quarter pipes. Skaters are awarded points from a team of judges based on the speed, height of jumps, and grabs they are able to perform whilst skating on these features.

Street in involves skating on a course involving reproductions of obstacles naturally found within the urban environment such as handrails, benches, stair sets and boxes. Skaters are awarded points for the difficulty of the maneuvres they perform.

Sport climbing is a discipline within rock climbing. In the 2020 Summer Games athletes will be climbing on artificial climbing walls in which three formats will be run – bouldering, lead climbing and speed climbing.


Bouldering is a more technical discipline within rock climbing which involves free climbing up short sections of rock or climbing walls without the use of ropes. Athletes secure victory by achieving the set challenge in the shortest number of attempts in a timed period.

Lead climbing involves climbing a designated route on a climbing wall while attached to ropes. Athletes will achieve a podium spot either by climbing to the top of the course in the fastest time or by reaching a higher point than their opponents before falling.

Speed climbing sees athletes go head-to-head in a knock-out format where they attempt to climb a 15m wall faster than their opponents.

Like skateboarding and sport climbing, surfing has been added to the 2020 Games in an effort to give the sport greater exposure to surfing novices and help keep the Olympics relevant in the modern era.

In spite of several new wave pools opening across globe over the preceding years, the competition will involve surfers riding a real wave at Shidshita beach about 40 miles outside of Tokyo. There will be both men’s and women’s categories. As the competition will depend on there actually being a surf-able wave, there will be a 16 waiting period to allow for the best conditions possible.


The best surfer will be the one who receives the highest score from a team of judges based on the surfers maneuvres on the waves within his/her heat. These maneuvres are graded on variety, difficulty level and speed, power and flow.

10 things to know about new sports and events at 2020 Olympics

The Tokyo Summer Olympics are a year off, and there are plenty of new sports and events to become acclimated with before the cauldron is lit on July 24, 2020.

While baseball and softball are returning after a 12-year hiatus and numerous other sports see tweaks and adjustments — be it basketball, cycling or archery — the Games will be the debut for karate, skateboarding, surfing and sport climbing on the world’s biggest stage

Here’s a look at 10 things to know from the new sports and events making a debut next summer:

Catching waves: With a subjective scoring structure, there was some debate over whether surfing events should take place in a wave pool, ensuring the same conditions and wave height for each competitor. Instead, Olympic organizers announced the competition will be held at Shidashita Beach, which is about 40 miles away from Tokyo. At the start of last week’s test event, small waves and heavy fog presented a challenge, but Robert Fasulo, executive director of the International Surfing Association called the conditions “absolutely adequate.”

Because officials won’t know too far in advance when the waves are at their best, there will be a 16-day window for the men’s and women’s events to take place. Once conditions are ideal, the contest will take two days to complete, with groups of four competing at once.

Surf qualifications: The 2019 World Surf League season will help decide who qualifies for the 2020 Games. The top 10 men and top eight women in the league will earn qualification, while the other 22 seeds — making up a 40-person field — will be distributed to competitors in the ISA World Surfing Games and Pan-American Games. Two slots will also be reserved for the host nation, and a maximum of four positions (two men, two women) will be available per country.

As for Team USA, 17-year-old Caroline Marks is high in the WSL rankings, but will have a challenge to qualify with a slew of other American women surfers near the top, too. And Kelly Slater — the 47-year-old 11-time world surfing champion — has contemplated retirement from full-time competition, but he hasn’t ruled out a go in the 2020 Olympics if he qualifies.

Also, in the WSL, Hawaii is listed as its own country. In the Olympics, though, Hawaiian-born John John Florence and Carissa Moore — two of the top surfers in the world — will be eligible for the United States.

Sport climbing events: There are different ways to climb, and that will be represented in the Olympics: bouldering, lead climbing and speed climbing. Bouldering challenges climbers with a course to navigate in a fixed amount time. In lead climbing, Olympians will attempt to climb as high as they can up a 15-meter wall within six minutes. And in speed climbing, two competitors will race up a 15-meter wall.

Well-rounded is best for climbing: Climbing will feature an interesting scoring sequence, forcing competitors to excel in all three events rather than just one. To calculate a climber’s final score, their final position in each event will be multiplied together, with the lowest total winning. So, if a climber is well-rounded and finishes third in each event — totaling 27, if multiplied together — that will score better than winning one event and placing poorly in the others.

Karate forms and scoring: Eight gold medals will be up for grab during the karate events: six for kumite (sparring) and two for kata (forms). The kumite events will be broken into three weight classes per gender, while kata has just one weight class.

Kicking, striking and punching are the accepted attacks during kumite, with points delivered (one to three) depending on the place of contact. The competition ends when one competitor leads by eight points. If the time limit runs out (three minutes for men, two for women) without either combatant leading by eight, whoever has the lead wins.

Karate makes a fitting debut: Martial arts events will take place inside the Nippon Budokan, a venue built for the judo competition held during Tokyo’s 1964 Olympics. Apart from all the famous concerts at the arena (The Beatles, Bob Dylan), the venue is the historic home to martial art events in the massive city.

Judo was first introduced in the 1964 Games, and karate will be included in its native Japan when the Olympics return next year.

Park and street skateboarding: Skateboarding events have been introduced for the 2020 Olympics, with two events: park and street. Much like BMX cycling, the park event will feature what resembles an empty swimming pool. Competitors will have three timed runs for tricks. And on street, there will be ramps and rails for routines and tricks.

There will be a total of 80 total spots, with 20 in each event. Each country can enter a maximum of three athletes in each event.

The U.S. skateboarding team: The inaugural U.S. national skateboarding team was announced in March, with 16 skaters included. But that team is different from the group that will head to Tokyo in 2020. The Olympic team will be decided through qualifiers.

And while the first USA Skateboarding team features stars such as Nyjah Huston and Tom Schaar, there are plenty of others looking to qualify for the Olympics who aren’t on the team — namely, Shaun White. White’s best event, known as “vert,” is not one of the events included in the Olympics. White announced Tuesday he’ll compete at the world championships in September to “test the waters and see what happens.”

3-on-3 basketball: Basketball has been a permanent fixture for men at the Olympics since 1936 — it wasn’t added for women until 1976 — but the Tokyo Games will have a new event, and it looks much like the pickup games players run at their local court. Only this time, it’s on the world’s stage.

In addition to the traditional 5-on-5 games, the Olympics will feature 3-on-3 basketball. Baskets scored inside the three-point arc will count as one point while shots from deep will be two points, and the first team to 21 points (or whichever team is leading after 10 minutes of play) wins.

Team USA has been a world powerhouse in basketball since the sport was introduced at the Olympics. The women’s team has won gold in all but one tournament since 1984, and the men have won 15 gold medals since 1936.

Baseball and softball return: The Americans will like their chances for a medal in baseball and softball, too, which returns to the Olympics after a 12-year absence. The USA won gold in softball three times before Japan edged the U.S. in 2008 in Beijing, the last time the sport was included at the Olympics. And in baseball — which has been included off and on since 1904 — the U.S. is coming off a win at the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

Cuba holds three Olympic golds, the most of any federation since baseball became official from 1992 to 2008. The U.S. captured gold in 2000 and will have another go at it two decades later.

Tokyo 2020: The four new sports making their debut at Olympic Games

Four sports will appear at the Olympic Games for the first time ever in 2020, while one more appears for the first time in 12 years.

Thankfully for Aussie Olympic fans, Australian athletes are in with a huge chance at winning gold in almost all of them.

Watch more about the new sports in the video above.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) signalled it was looking to embrace youth culture in announcing skateboarding, sports climbing and surfing would all be featuring in Tokyo 2020.

Otherwise, the IOC announced karate will be making its first ever appearance in 2020, while baseball and softball will return after featuring at Beijing 2008.

Here are the Aussie hopes in the new Olympic sports:


Tsurigasaki Beach could very well join the long list of Olympic venues to play host to an iconic Australian sporting moment. Seven-time world champ Stephanie Gilmore and Sally Fitzgibbons should both be great gold-medal shots in the women’s event. It’s still far from clear which Australian men will get the nod.


Australia has a great history of excelling when new-age disciplines are added to the schedule for the Summer and Winter Olympics – such as BMX racing and freestyle skiing. Teenagers Keegan Palmer and Hayley Wilson shape as genuine podium contenders in the men’s park and women’s street events respectively.


Difficult to predict what will happen here, as the Olympic event is a combination of three distinct disciplines – speed, bouldering and lead. Should favour athletes from Japan, the United States and Europe.


Would be a shock if the host nation didn’t dominate proceedings at the historic Nippon Budokan. No guarantee that Australia will even be represented.


Australia won silver at Athens 2004 in baseball – a sport as popular in Japan as it is in the US and Central America. The Australian women’s softball team have claimed four medals at previous Games, but have yet to top the podium. Need to qualify for both tournaments.


Barcelona 1992: 290 athletes. Seven golds, nine silvers, 11 bronzes. 27 overall medals. 10th on medals table.

Atlanta 1996: 424 athletes. Nine golds, nine silvers, 23 bronzes. 41 overall medals. Seventh on medals table.

Sydney 2000: 630 athletes. 16 golds, 25 silvers, 17 bronzes. 58 overall medals. Fourth on medals table.

Athens 2004: 482 athletes. 17 golds, 16 silvers, 17 bronzes. 50 overall medals. Fourth on medals table.

Beijing 2008: 433 athletes. 14 golds, 15 silvers, 17 bronzes. 46 overall medals. Sixth on medals table

London 2012: 410 athletes. Eight golds, 15 silvers, 12 bronzes. 35 overall medals. Eighth on medals table

Rio 2016: 422 athletes. Eight golds, 11 silvers, 10 bronzes. 29 overall medals. 10th on medals table

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Tokyo well placed to host a great Olympics

A Summer Games in Tokyo could well be just what the Olympic movement needs.

Four years after the Rio Games played out before half-full stadiums in a host nation battling a major economic crisis, the five-ringed circus will move to the Japanese capital for the 2020 showpiece, with the opening ceremony on July 24.

Japan has a proud modern Olympics history, dating back to its successful hosting of the 1964 Games, less than two decades after the end of World War II.

Tokyo 2020 will feel like a home Games for Australian viewers, with time zones only differing by one hour Credit: Supplied

It is a nation which seamlessly combines a deep sense of history with cutting-edge modernity.

Those two contrasting strands of Japanese life will be reflected in the main clusters of venues for the 2020 Games.

The Heritage Zone includes iconic venues such as the Nippon Budokan and the Yoyogi Stadium, both of which also saw service in 1964.

The new Olympic Stadium – which will host the opening and closing ceremonies and athletics – is close to completion on the site of the main venue for the 1964 Games.

And the race walks will take place in the Imperial Palace Garden, adjacent to where Dawn Fraser famously “souvenired” the Olympic flag 65 years ago, shortly after claiming a third straight 100m freestyle title and earning the ire of Australian swimming officials.

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Tokyo is winning praise for their Olympic preparations one year out of the 2020 Olympics

Tokyo is winning praise for their Olympic preparations one year out of the 2020 Olympics

To the east is the Tokyo Bay Zone, which will host many of the new-age disciplines such as skateboarding, 3×3 basketball and sport climbing.

“It’s a unique contrast of having the two different zones,” said Tokyo 2020 spokesman Masa Takaya.

“In the Tokyo Bay Zone, it’s the future of the city on the reclaimed land (on the artificial island of Odaiba) with the new city and new sporting facilities.

“The other zone will feature Japan’s traditions and unique culture and existing facilities including the venues from 1964.”

The main stadium for Tokyo 2020 is being built on the site of the equivalent venue used in 1964. Credit: AP

Of the more far-flung venues, the one of most interest to Australians will be Tsurigasaki Beach, where the likes of Stephanie Gilmore and Sally Fitzgibbons will be bidding to become the inaugural Olympic women’s surfing gold medallist.

Other sports such as baseball and softball will take place in areas hardest hit by the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami of 2011.

As was the case for the 2000 Sydney and 2012 London Olympics, the early demand for tickets far outstripped supply.

A second lottery will take place in August.

A taskforce is exploring the prospect of a Queensland region bidding to host the 2032 Olympics. Credit: AP

The sponsorship program has also exceeded benchmarks.

“I feel huge excitement about the Olympics from the general public,” said Takaya.

“A good example was straight after Rio when a medallists’ parade took place in the city centre and we saw more than 800,000 people turn out to welcome home the athletes.

“The excitement behind the scenes is huge and the excitement behind the ticketing sales is another good example.”

To gear up for the Games, 7plus has launched The Olympic Channel, showcasing the best Olympic moments and sporting events.

The archetype of the Olympian is evolving, as evidenced by the potential arrival of a new sort of athletic competitor at the Summer Games: B-boys and B-girls.

As part of an effort to appeal to younger fans, the organizing committee for the 2024 Games in Paris announced on Thursday that it would recommend break dancing — yes, the street dance form with moves like flares, headspins and windmills — as a new sport to be added to its program.

The proposal — which also includes a recommendation that skateboarding, surfing and climbing, which will be introduced next year at the Tokyo Games, remain on the program — will be formally presented to the International Olympic Committee executive board at the end of March. The I.O.C. is not expected to confirm the events program for the 2024 Games until December 2020.

Break dancing was enthusiastically received when it made its debut at the Youth Olympic Games last summer in Buenos Aires. The eventual medalists there hailed from Russia, France, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Italy, Austria, Vietnam and Argentina — a vivid sign perhaps of how extensively the activity has spread since its beginnings decades ago in New York City.

A Complete Look At All The New Sports And Events For The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

(Clockwise, starting top left) Swimmers Lilly King, Matt Grevers, Caeleb Dressel and Simone Manuel, sport climber Margo Hayes, surfer Courtney Conlogue, skateboarder Jagger Eaton, softball player Jessica Mendoza, and karate athlete Elisa Au all represent events making their debut at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

July 24 marks two years until the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. While we don’t yet know the names of the more than 11,000 athletes that will be competing, it’s never too early to start looking ahead to the new sports and events in which many of them will be competing.

While some sports will be totally new, others are returning to the Olympic program after an absence, and some existing sports are adding new events.

Here are all the changes to watch out for when the Games get underway on July 24, 2020:

Archery has been on the Olympic program since 1972, but it adds a mixed team event to the existing men’s and women’s individual and team recurve events for 2020. Mixed team is a match play format as teams of one man and one woman face off head-to-head. The event was tested at the Youth Olympic Games in 2010 and 2014 and has been contested at the World Archery Championships since 2011. U.S. teams of Olympians Brady Ellison and Mackenzie Brown, and Ellison and Khatuna Lorig have been very successful on the world cup stage the past few years.

Baseball (men’s) and softball (women’s) make their return to the Olympic program after a two-Games absence, and it could not be more appropriate. In a country crazy for both sports, fans will no doubt pack the stadiums whenever Samurai Japan is playing. But Team USA may be the team to beat, having won the most recent World Baseball Classic. Meanwhile, the U.S. women’s softball team will look to defend its world championship in Chiba, Japan, next month. Baseball was contested at the Games from 1992-2008, with Team USA medaling at three of those five appearances. The U.S. women’s softball team won three golds and a silver in four Games from 1996-2008.

Four Olympic medals are now up for grabs in basketball with the addition of the 3-on-3 variant, which includes teams of four athletes. 3×3 is a half-court game with a single basket. Shots inside the arc are worth one point and shots from outside are worth two. The first team to 21 points wins, or the team leading at the end of the 10-minute regulation time. 3×3 made its debut at the Youth Olympic Games in 2010, and now has its own FIBA World Cup. The U.S. women’s team won gold at the 2014 Youth Games, and two of the players from that squad are now on the women’s national team.

Boxing sees greater gender equality in 2020 as the number of men’s weight divisions goes from 10 to eight and women’s increases from three to five. Women’s boxing made its Olympic debut in 2012, and Team USA has since won three medals. Claressa Shields won the middleweight gold medal in both 2012 and 2016.

Gender equality was also considered in canoe/kayak, as three women’s events have been added and three dropped for men. In sprint, women’s C1 200-meter and C2 500-meter are new (one- and two-person canoe, respectively), while men’s K2 200 (doubles kayak) and C1 200 will be dropped. The only new event for men will be the K4 500 (four-person kayak). In slalom, women’s C1 makes its Olympic debut, and men’s C2 will be removed.

BMX racing was introduced at the Beijing Games in 2008, but BMX park, which is contested at X Games and on the UCI world cup circuit, makes its debut in 2020. A park course is used for both skateboarding (see below) and BMX, and resembles an empty, irregularly-shaped swimming pool. Riders have three timed runs to put together their best routine for the judges.

On the track, Madison cycling makes its return to the program after having been dropped following the 2008 Games. In Madison, pairs of riders race each other over a set distance, switching back and forth between who is racing and who is resting.

For the first time, all six team events will be contested at the Games. In the past, the events would alternate with a different two sitting out each Games. Men’s team saber and women’s team foil were not contested in Rio, and they will be on the program in Tokyo, as well as men’s and women’s team epee, men’s team foil and women’s team saber.

Judo appropriately made its Olympic debut in Tokyo in 1964, having been founded in Japan in 1882. New for 2020 is a mixed team event in which each nation will form a team of three men and three women, each from one of three weight classes.

Another martial art native to Japan, karate will be making its Olympic debut in 2020. Karate broadly has two disciplines: kata (forms) and kumite (sparring). The sparring competition is broken down by weight class — three each for men and women. There is just one forms competition, in which athletes display their ability to perform the movements of karate, with events for men and women.

For greater gender equality, the men’s lightweight four was dropped for 2020 and the women’s four added in its place. This is the first change to the Olympic rowing program since 1996. Rowing events will take place in Tokyo Bay.

Shooting is another sport mixing it up by adding a mixed team event. Duos of one man and one woman will compete in air pistol, air rifle and trap. At the most recent ISSF World Cup stop in Tucson, Arizona, Team USA placed two trap teams on the podium.

Skateboarding makes its Olympic debut in 2020 with park and street competitions for men and women. While the park course is the same as the aforementioned BMX competition, the street course consists of ramps and rails for riders to put together a varied routine of tricks. Competitors get three timed runs to post their best score. Look for Team USA to be contenders in all skateboarding events, as Americans won gold in all four at the most recent X Games in Minneapolis.

Sport Climbing
Another new sport for 2020, sport climbing debuts with an overall competition encompassing three events typically competed separately on the world cup circuit: speed climbing, bouldering and lead climbing. Speed climbing is much like it sounds, with two climbers racing each other to the top of a 15-meter high wall. Bouldering tests an athlete’s technical ability, presenting climbers with a short course that they have to negotiate in a fixed amount of time. In lead climbing, athletes attempt to climb as high as they can on a 15-meter wall within six minutes. This competition requiring varied skills should put climbers to the test.

The fifth and final new sport for Tokyo, surfing will be contested on Shidashita Beach in Chiba, roughly 40 miles outside the capital. Surfing will be of the shortboard variety with a competition for both men and women. Twenty surfers will be entered in each with up to two per gender per nation. Four athletes compete at a time in heats, with each heat lasting 20-25 minutes.

During that time, surfers are judged on their skill in riding the waves and awarded a score. Surfing conditions are highly variable, and as such, competition will have a 16-day window to allow for optimal waves.

One new distance will be added in both the men’s and women’s competitions, as well as one mixed gender event. The 800-meter freestyle joins the men’s program, and the 1,500 free gets added for women. Both distances have been featured in the opposite gender’s program for some time. Five-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky holds the 1,500 free world record, which she broke for the sixth time in May. The 4×100-meter mixed medley has also been added, which is similar to the men’s and women’s mixed relay but features two athletes of each gender. Team USA won gold in this event at the 2017 world championships.

Table Tennis
Mixed doubles gets added to the Olympic program for 2020, joining men’s and women’s singles and team events. It has long been a fixture at the World Table Tennis Championships dating back to 1926. Team USA will be looking for its first Olympic table tennis medal in any event.

Triathlon will add a mixed event of its own in 2020 with a mixed team relay. Each nation will field a team of two men and two women, and each athlete will complete a scaled down version of the Olympic triathlon. This will consist of a 300-meter swim, an 8-kilometer bike ride and a 2-kilometer run. Team USA has medaled twice so far this season at the ITU World Triathlon Series, including gold in June.

Track and Field
Strategy is the name of the game as the 4×400 mixed joins the track and field program. Each team consists of two men and two women, and the order in which they run will be a key decision facing each nation. Team USA won the silver medal at the event’s debut at the 2017 IAAF World Relays.

Water Polo
Two more women’s teams will compete in Tokyo than in Rio, bringing the total to 12 men’s teams and 10 women’s teams. Women’s water polo debuted at the Games in 2000 with six countries competing. The U.S. women’s team is a two-time defending Olympic champion and the only one to medal at every Games.

Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

Watch the Latest Teaser Trailer for the 2020 Olympics — and Read All About the New Sports


We’re officially only a year away from the next Summer Olympics!

On Tuesday, the 2020 Olympics released a teaser trailer for the upcoming event, which will be held in Tokyo from July 24th, 2020 to August 9th, 2020.

The video — which is set to Panic! At The Disco’s cover of “The Greatest Show” from The Greatest Showman — features clips of beloved athletes including gymnast Simone Biles and USWNT player Alex Morgan.

“In one year, the world will be watching Tokyo for the greatest show in sports,” the caption of the video read. “And we’ll be ready.”

According to NBC Sports, next year’s Olympics will also include six new sports: baseball, softball, surfing, karate, skateboarding, and sports climbing.

With the new additions, the 2020 Olympics will consist of a record 339 medal events and 33 sports, a preview on the Today show Tuesday morning explained.

In one year, the world will be watching Tokyo for the greatest show in sports.

And we’ll be ready. #TokyoOlympics pic.twitter.com/w77bkhUoP2

— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) July 23, 2019

With the Summer Olympics just one year away, Tokyo is already preparing to welcome the world for the [email protected] has a preview, including the new sports that will be featured! #TokyoOlympics cc: @NBCOlympics pic.twitter.com/c8n9C57Gxu

— TODAY (@TODAYshow) July 23, 2019

According to NBC Sports, baseball and softball will be making their return to the Olympics next year after being removed from the program following the 2008 games.

Sports climbing will see climbers competing in three different events: lead, speed and bouldering. Speed climbing involves two athletes climbing a fixed route to see who finishes first, while in lead climbing, athletes will try to climb as high as possible in a fixed time limit. Meanwhile, bouldering involves climbing without safety routes.

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The skateboarding competitions will consist of four medal events: men’s and women’s street, performed on stairs, curbs and rails, and men’s and women’s park, held in a dome-shaped bowl.

On Tuesday, professional skateboarder and snowboarder Shaun White — who has won gold at the Winter Olympics — announced he is considering competing in skateboarding next year.

“It’s such a big decision,” he said. “I’ve been having so much fun just skating around and I got so inspired. I was like, ‘Why don’t I test the waters, compete a little and see what happens?’ So after that, I’ll probably make the big announcement what I’m gonna do.”

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The 2020 Summer Olympics precede the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Paris will host the 2024 Summer Games, while the warm-weather Olympics will return to the U.S. in 2028, with the action centered around Los Angeles.

To learn more, visit teamusa.org. The Tokyo Olympics begin in one year on NBC.

2020 olympic sports added

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