The Olympics are almost upon us and with a host of new sports making an appearance, our hype for the greatest show on Earth is in overload. Below we take a look at five new events making their debut in Japan this summer…
Growing up it seemed the only time you heard about skateboarding was when the next instalment of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater was released or when the X-Games popped up on the Extreme Sports Channel annually. However, this summer the sport will broadcast to billions of people across the globe when it finally makes its Olympic debut.
There will be two different disciplines; park and street. Park involves skating on a series of ramps, including, half pipes, bowls and quarter pipes - all the stuff you probably remember from tearing up the schoolyard as Rodney Mullen in Tony Hawk’s on the Playstation but without the killer soundtrack.
Street, on the other hand, includes courses involving obstacles naturally found in urban environments such as handrails and benches.
One of three events that will be participated on artificial walls (alongside bouldering and lead climbing), speed climbing is something straight out of an episode of Gladiators from the nineties and it looks bloody fun!
Held on 15 metre high courses, the action is fast, frantic and the drama unfolds in a matter of seconds - it sounds like perfect viewing on those lazy afternoons and hopefully, this will pave the way for more Gladiator-esque events in the future. 'Duels' at the 2024 Olympics? Yes, please.
Baseball and Softball
After a two-Games absence, baseball (men’s) and softball (women’s) make their return next summer, unsurprising, given Japan’s fanatical love for both sports.
Following the usual rules for both sports, nine players per team for nine innings, this sport has the most new athletes with 144 men and 90 women competing. We’ll admit, most of our knowledge of softball comes from the classic episode of The Simpsons ‘Homer At The Bat’ so this one could be a real eye-opener.
Time to channel our inner-Daniel LaRusso and start practicing those crane kicks! Joining judo, boxing, wrestling and tae kwon do, karate will be the latest martial arts discipline to join the Olympic Games.
The event will be split into two different types of Karate; Kumite, a sparring discipline that will have three weight classes each for men and women and Kata, a form discipline that will have one event each for men and women.
The fifth and final newcomer to next year’s Games, surfing, will take place roughly 40 miles away from Tokyo at Shidashita Beach in Chiba.
The surfers are judged on their skills when riding the waves and awarded a score when they complete their run. Due to the highly variable nature of the sea, the competition will have a whopping 16-day window to allow for optimal waves. Gnarly!