Tokyo 2020 has seen the introduction of some new encapsulating mixed events that could be the future of certain sports at the Games. We have always been familiar with seeing events like mixed doubles in tennis, but this set-up has finally been realised for its potential and the Japanese capital has seen the first mixed events in sports such as athletics and swimming at the Olympics.
Team GB have experienced success with the new events as they have taken gold in the swimming 4x100m mixed relay and the triathlon mixed team relay as Jonny Brownlee finally got his hands on the prestigious Olympic gold. Swimming has very much been Great Britain’s arena at Tokyo 2020 and the gold they claimed in the 4x100m mixed relay was not only a world record time, but it was their fourth gold in the pool which was their best total at the Games for 113 years.
There have been mixed relays on the track for the 4x100m and 4x400m, and all these events have added an increase of excitement to the Games, and it truly reflects the parity of the two sexes in sport today. It helps promote equality while also offering a new dynamic to the Olympics that has so far proven to be a great success. Tokyo 2020 has also seen new mixed events for shooting, archery, judo and table tennis, providing even more drama for those of us watching on.
Outside of the Games, we have already seen other sports that have introduced mixed competition including darts, as we have experienced female Fallon Sherrock enter the fray with the men when she made her Premier League Darts debut in February 2020. We also already have female jockeys battling the men as Rachael Blackmore has already had one hell of a year in jump racing, taking the Cheltenham Festival Gold Cup and the Grand National.
She has proven when it comes to horse racing, or other horse-based sports such as dressage and showjumping at the Olympics, women can compete and beat men at the highest level. For sports based upon accuracy, it is fairly archaic to separate competitors based on their sex.
There are more events that could follow on with this rising trend and help further spread the equality positive image and they include cycling, rowing and volleyball, to name a few. Even though these are highly physical sports, an even split in both teams could lead to some iconic races, as we have seen in the relays in Tokyo so far.
It is the future of certain sporting events where it can be applied and it will help promote equality in sport, while raising the bar with entertainment. For obvious reasons, physical sports such as rugby and football cannot be mixed but there is an opportunity in the aforementioned sports that mixed events could flourish with mixed events that would in turn create opportunities for more aspiring Olympians and athletes to represent their nations on the biggest stage.