Baseball and Softball
With baseball being immensely popular in Japan, it’s fitting that the sport should find itself on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic list after a 13-year hiatus. The sport was first introduced to the Olympics in 1992, but was later removed from the Games after the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Softball was added as a medal event in 1996 and was won by the U.S., but it too was removed after Beijing in 2008.
For any die-hard fans though, you’d do well to tune in as both sports are slated to be one-off additions, with neither currently scheduled to be a part of the 2024 Paris Olympics. Baseball will be men only, with softball being women only. Six countries will take part in both sports, which begin with an opening-round pool play before moving onto knockout stages to determine the winner.
The baseball tournament begins July 27 through August 7. Softball will take place from July 24 through July 27.
Having originated in Japan, karate will now be making its debut as an Olympic sport. Currently not slated for 2024 Paris Olympics program, it could be a one-off much like softball and baseball though. Still, it’s cause for celebration as the Tokyo Games will feature two karate disciplines: kata (form demonstrations, where athletes are judged on technique) and kumite (a mat competition where athletes compete head to head).
The events will take place at the Nippon Budokan, which hosted the first World Karate Championships in 1970. The events are scheduled for August 4 through August 7.
When it was announced skateboarding will make its Olympic debut, many were sceptical. Unsure how scoring would work and whether it could even be classified as an Olympic sport, the announcement was one that surely ruffled some feathers, but for the most part proves exciting as the once-considered sport performed on the outskirts now launches into the mainstream.
Tokyo will feature two skateboard disciplines, park and street, which will have both prelims and finals. The park competitions will take place in a smooth, dome-shaped bowl, with competitors scored on originality and difficulty of tricks. Meanwhile, street competition mimics a skatepark, with stairs, rails and other features where athletes will have a set amount of time. Judges will score the runs across both disciplines.
The skateboarding competition will take place from July 24 through to August 4.
After the international success of Free Solo, many couldn’t wait for the inclusion of sport climbing in the Olympics. Featured as a single event, the sport will see athletes compete across three primary disciplines: speed, bouldering and lead. From there, an overall winner for both men and women will be announced. Each climber will have to compete in every discipline, with athletes aiming for the lowest combined score to win medals. Climbers will also be kept in isolation before their turn, meaning they can’t gain an advantage by watching how their opponents approach the wall.
Sport climbing will take place from August 3 through August 6.
Taking place at Tsurigasaki Beach in Ichinomiya, about 45 miles southeast of the Olympic stadium, surfing will feature both men’s and women’s events. There will be a preliminary round before head-to-head knockout competition, with athletes competing with a shortboard for greater manoeuvrability. Most importantly, given that surfing relies so heavily on the elements, the timing for the competition is flexible. It means that competitions can be postponed to a later day to ensure the most ideal conditions are utilised.
The event will take place from July 24 through July 31 and naturally, all eyes will be on Aussie golden girls, Stephanie Gilmore and Sally Fitzgibbons as they make their Olympic debut in the event.