The New Sports Coming to the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games

After being sidelined due to the pandemic, the games are coming back in July 2021 with exciting new sporting competitions.

Here are the new events debuting and two notable returns.   

3×3 Basketball

The brand new event will be held at Aomi Urban Sports Park, which was developed specifically for the games. Considered to be the largest urban team sport in the world, 3×3 basketball games last ten minutes, or until the first team scores twenty-one points. Both men’s and women’s rosters will be selected from national qualifiers, and will likely not include professional athletes.  

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Karate

Eighty athletes from around the world will compete for eight gold medals. Sixty will duke it out in three weight classes, in what’s known as the Kumite, or sparring category, where fighters have three minutes to score points by striking their opponent with a flurry of punches and kicks.  In the Kata, or forms event, twenty athletes will be graded on the power and technique of their form.

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BMX Freestyle

BMX racings more stunt driven sibling will make its debut at the game with competitors performing as many high-flying acrobatic tricks around a park full of obstacles like walls and spines they jump and grind off of.  

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Sport Climbing

The new sport will give elite climbers of the world a venue to prove their skills in three different disciplines: In speed climbing, two athletes will go head to head in a race up a fifteen-meter wall. Bouldering athletes stay low to the ground on four-meter walls, but are forced to consider their moves traversing across rather than up, in an event that is scored on precision instead of time. In the lead climbing event, competitors have six minutes to climb as high as they can while secured by rope, and reaching the final hand hold, completes the run.   

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Surfing 

The competition will take place at Shidashita Beach 40 miles outside of Tokyo, where twenty athletes from each gender will compete in four-person heats on high performance shortboards. Judges will score their rides for difficulty level for 20-25 minutes, with the two highest scores used against the competition. 

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Skateboarding

The new sport will feature two events, Park and Street. In park skating, athletes will perform mid-air tricks on a hollowed-out course with high edges for grinding or jumping.  In street skating, riders will be scored on tricks they perform off of curbs, stairs, and slopes.  

Baseball

America’s favorite pastime was introduced in 1992 and removed from the Olympics in 2008. Unlike basketball, professional athletes are not allowed to participate in the games.  

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Softball

The exclusively women’s sport was introduced to the games in 1996 and dropped along with baseball in 2008, which was the first time any sports were removed from the Olympics since polo in 1936.  

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