Do you know what new sports we will see at the Tokyo 2021 Olympic games?
New sports at Olympic games
Tokyo will host the most exciting sportive event ever seen: The 2020 Summer Olympics. Now, you can see new sports including surfing, sport climbing, skateboarding, baseball and karate. In total, Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games will feature five new sports.
In 1940, World War II forced the suspension of the Olympic Games. The host city was to be Helsinki (Finland) after the resignation two years earlier of, yes, Tokyo (Japan).
Then, it was not a pandemic that was to blame, but the Second Sino-Japanese War, the prelude to the great conflict, which left the Japanese capital without the greatest sporting event. So, this is not the first time that Tokyo has faced setbacks when it comes to organizing the Olympic games.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC), on March 24, 2020, just a few months before the Olympic games
were to be held, announced that the Tokyo Olympics would be delayed. The news was expected, but it was nonetheless a bitter pill to swallow for sports fans.
On the other hand, climate change is a problem that affects the entire planet and sport is no stranger to it. For this reason, Tokyo 2021 Olympic games has set itself the goal of being remembered for its commitment to sustainability under the slogan Be better, together - For the planet and the people.
The Organizing Committee is pursuing the following objectives: to fulfill the responsibility to deliver a sustainable event, to showcase solutions to address global climate challenges, to contribute to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and thus to consolidate a sustainable future for humanity and the planet.
Japan adopted at the end of 2017 a strategy for the promotion of hydrogen use and in 2020 launched the world's largest green hydrogen plant. It will therefore be the first time that the Olympic games torch will be lit with hydrogen.
Olympic games in Tokyo 2021
The thousands of athletes who were to participate in Tokyo 2020 received the news of the suspension with relief, as most of them had been forced to suspend their training because of the pandemic and were not going to arrive at the summer event in the best conditions. Despite this, a feeling of frustration was sure to run through their minds momentarily, especially among the representatives of the new Olympic sports we review below:
- Surf: The world's best surfers will celebrate the Olympic debut of their sport on the spectacular Pacific coast of Japan. The state of the waves, the direction and strength of the wind, and the flow of the tide make surfing a test in which athletes compete against each other as they face nature's changing conditions.
- Skateboarding: The Organizing Committee incorporated such a youthful and vibrant sport as skateboarding into the Olympic program. It will have two categories: street -it takes place on a straight course that imitates a street with stairs, handrails, curbs, slopes, etc.- and park -it takes place on a track with slopes and complicated curves-.
- Sport climbing: Finger strength will determine which athletes win the medal in this new sport. Relying on the colorful and characteristic holds, the climbers will put their skill and strength into practice on a vertical wall. There will be three disciplines: speed, bouldering (or bouldering) and lead (or difficulty).
- Karate: Karate originated in Okinawa (Japan) during the Ryukyu dynasty and has since spread throughout the world. Therefore, this sport could not miss the event in Tokyo.
- Baseball: Baseball and softball are making a comeback at the Games -their last appearance was at Beijing 2008-. Thus, spectators will once again enjoy watching how the pitcher puts the batter in trouble with very fast pitches - they reach up to 160 km/h - and precision, as well as spectacular effects.
In addition to these five new sports, Tokyo 2021 will feature 15 new disciplines. The aim is to increase female participation and promote equality, and these include: the women's 1500 meters and the mixed 4x100 meters in swimming, a mixed team event in archery, the mixed 4×400 relay in athletics, the women's and men's 3×3 in basketball, and so on.
Sports that can be part of Olympic games in the future
Surfing, skateboarding, sport climbing, karate and baseball were the five sports chosen, from a pre-selection of 26, to enter the Olympic program of Tokyo 2020 and thus join classic sports such as athletics, fencing, cycling, gymnastics or swimming.
Therefore, 21 sports were left out and are already dreaming of joining the next Olympic Games. Here is a list of some of them: American soccer, billiards, bowling, bridge, chess, sport dancing, orienteering, polo, squash, sumo, etc.
To these, we should add eternal candidates such as rugby or golf, as well as new urban disciplines, such as parkour, which can follow the path initiated by skateboarding. In fact, breakdancing will be part of the Olympic program in Paris 2024.
The basic requirements for a sport to be Olympic are as follows: it must have a men's federation in at least 75 countries on four continents and a women's federation in 40 countries on three continents.
In addition, the country organizing the Olympic Games may propose the inclusion or elimination of sports based on their strength in the country or on climatic or economic conditions. Finally, the IOC votes on whether they are accepted or not.
Sports that ceased to be part of Olympic games
Just as there are sports that are added to the program, there are others that are dropped and, in many cases, do not return to it. Below, we review some of them:
- Basque pelota: it was only an Olympic sport on one occasion (Paris 1900) and only two teams were entered (Spain and France -the countries with the greatest tradition-), although it returned as an exhibition sport in Mexico 1968 and Barcelona 1992.
- Lacrosse: this sport, whose origins date back to the American Indians, was an Olympic sport on two consecutive occasions (St. Louis 1904 and London 1908), only to disappear later, despite fleeting appearances as an exhibition sport (Amsterdam 1928 and Los Angeles 1932).
- The game of rope: also known as sogatira, this sport was incorporated into the Olympic program in Paris 1900 and continued until Antwerp 1920. For Tokyo 2020, already 2021, it was in the pre-selection of 26 mentioned above.
- Cricket: with complex rules and a great tradition in the Commonwealth countries, especially in the Indian subcontinent where it attracts masses of fans, this sport was Olympic only once: Paris 1900.
Other interesting facts about the Tokyo Olympic Games
The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games (2020年夏季オオンピック nisennijū nen kaki orinpikku?), officially known as the Games of the XXXII Olympiad, will be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.
The International Olympic Committee selected Tokyo, one of the cities that had applied to host them, on September 7, 2013, during the 125th Session of the International Olympic Committee held in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
It will be the second Olympic Games in Tokyo. The first was held in 1964 in the Shōwa era, when Hirohito, grandfather of the current Emperor Naruhito, was Emperor of Japan.
They will be the first games held in the Reiwa era. On January 24, 2014, the Organizing Committee for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games was established. Initially the event was to be held between July 24 and August 9, 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused Australia and Canada to drop out, on March 24, 2020, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and IOC President Thomas Bach agreed to postpone the event, keeping the name "Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games".
A week later the new dates were announced, between July 23 and August 8, 2021.
Olympic games logo
The initial design of the official emblem for the 2020 Olympic Games was unveiled on July 24, 2015. The logo resembled a stylized T. A red circle in the upper right corner represented a beating heart, the flag of Japan and an "inclusive world where everyone accepts everyone else." A black column in the center represented diversity.
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