• Jane

Four new sports make Olympic debut

We all know that this year's Olympic Games are going to be a little different. While everyone seems to have their own opinion on whether the games should be going ahead, you can’t deny that it’s a disappointing situation for everyone involved. The athletes, their family and friends, the spectators, Japan, and well, the whole world really.

The Tokyo Olympics are going ahead in a state of emergency, meaning there are no spectators allowed at any of the events, including the opening and closing ceremonies. It is incredibly unfortunate, but everything about this bloody pandemic has been unfortunate.

So to shed light on some positive news, there are four new sports making their debut at this year's Olympic Games. Skateboarding, climbing, surfing and karate have been welcomed into the world's largest sporting event. Baseball and softball will also be making a comeback, but will not return again in 2024.

The surfing event will use a similar structure to regular World Surf Tour events, except there will be four people to a heat instead of two. General wave priority rules will apply and any interference with the surfer who has right of way can incur a penalty. As usual, waves will be scored by a panel of judges. Australia is one of eighteen countries sending a team to Tokyo.

The climbing event is quite interesting considering you must perform the best at all three climbing disciplines in order to win the gold. This includes lead climbing, speed climbing and bouldering. Since all three disciplines are quite different, it will be interesting to see how this climbing triathlon goes. I imagine there might be some changes in Paris 2024.

The karate event is noteworthy as this may well and truly be the only time karate is included in an Olympic Games. Japanese Olympic organisers added it to the list of sports at this year's Games under new IOC guidelines which allow the host country to include provisional new events for the Games they host. Does that mean Brisbane could include AFL in 2032?

Skateboarding was a bit of a controversial addition to the Games. There was even an international petition started by a group of skaters in Los Angeles, urging the IOC to retract their decision. Many people see skating as a subculture, rather than a pristine sport with clear rules and guidelines like swimming or gymnastics. They do have a point, as it's a “sport” that doesn’t exactly have any rules. Nonetheless, most skaters came around to the idea in the end. There will be ‘street’ and ‘park’ events, meaning there are four golds up for grabs!

So there you have it folks! Tokyo 2021 begins on 23 July 2021 and runs until 8 August 2021.'