2020 Tokyo Olympics: Four New Sports Set to Debut at Games

by Suzanne Halliburton

The Tokyo Olympics will feature four new sports that will spin out several events, meaning even more gold medals.

And it’s difficult to think of the ancient Greeks ever skateboarding, practicing Karate, sport climbing or surfing. But athletes will be competing in those sports at the Tokyo Olympics that opened Friday.

The sports were added, in part, to entice a younger audience. For example, skateboarding was ripped straight out of the X Games, an event that was created to give then-fledgling ESPN2 new programming decades ago.

Skateboarding kicks off, Sunday, Tokyo time. There are two different events for men and women. The first is street. The second is park. And while skateboarding definitely features a youthful vibe, its competitors range in age from 12 to 47. Participants wear non-traditional uniforms that are meant to look like after-school or weekend outfits.

American Nyjah Houston probably is the most well-known male skateboarder and should be the gold medal favorite. Meanwhile, Great Britain’s Sky Brown is a huge social media star. You can see her throw tricks on Tik Tok and Instagram. She has 1.1 million followers on Tik Tok and almost 900,000 on Instagram. Plus, she and her brother, Ocean, maintain a vlog on YouTube.

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Catch a Wave at Tokyo Olympics! Surfing Starts Sunday

Surfing also rolls out, Sunday. It’s supposed to be a three-day competition, with an eight-day window, but it depends on surfing conditions. But the waves probably will be gnarly, considering there’s a typhoon expected to hover off the coast of Japan churning up the water.

“It’s small, but there is swell on the way! Let’s go,” Australian surfer Owen Wright wrote on Instagram following his first practice session at Tsurigasaki Surf Beach. That’s the site of the Tokyo Olympic event venue.

The process of getting surfing into the games started in 1995. But the push started more than a century ago. That’s when Duke Kahanamoku, a legendary Hawaiian and multiple medalist in swimming, first tried to get surfing into the Olympics.

The Brazilians probably will dominate the men’s side. American Carissa Moore is one to watch in the women’s competition, along with Aussie Stephanie Gilmore.

(Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

Two New Sports Headed for Second Half of Games

Sport climbing, a form of rock climbing, is about scaling a 15-meter wall the fastest while doing required holds. It calls for endurance, strength and technique with a dash of gymnastics. There are three disciplines — speed, bouldering and lead. The men’s finals are Aug. 5, the women the next day. The Tokyo Olympics venue for sports climbing is Aomi Urban Sports Park, which is near the Olympic Village.

And karate is the fourth new sport for the Tokyo Olympics. It’s an obvious choice since Japan popularized it back in the 1920s. It first was pitched to the Olympics in the 1970s. Karate, Judo and Aikido are the three most practiced martial arts in Japan.

The competition starts, Aug. 5.

(Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images for NZOC)