5 New Sports You’ll See At the 2020 Olympic Games

by | Aug 5, 2016 | Fitness

By Gina Beretta; Photography: Sean Laurénz
Ready, set, climb… and more! The IOC just surprised us all by approving 5 new sports for Tokyo 2020.
Thought skateboarding and surfing was something that only oh-so-cool 90s kids considered a ‘sport’? Think again! Yesterday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) made the big announcement – they’ll be adding five new über-cool sports to the program for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. This historic step to injecting a little swag into the Olympics is down to the renewed focus on youth-culture and the ‘urbanisation’ of sport, with the aim to push innovation and youth development further… after all, the youth are the sports stars of the future, right?
However, the additional sports in Tokyo will not be binding on future host cities (so if they don’t draw the crowds or perform well, they could get axed).
Let’s take a closer look at what you’ll see in 2020:


You wouldn’t really equate surfing’s laid-back attitude with the Olympic motto “faster, higher, strong” now would you? But come 2020, surfers will be hanging ten in Tokyo. There was talk about using an artificial wave machine to generate an awesome swell, but those plans have been ditched. The race is now on to become one of the 40 surfers, 20 men and 20 women, who will compete on coastline south of Tokyo to become the sport’s first Olympic medallists.



Do you know your “roastbeef ” from your “frontside grab”? While still considered an anti-establishment ‘art’ form (hell, nearly 7 000 skaters signed a petition to keep skateboarding out the Olympics) 40 male and 40 female skaters from across the globe will be rolling into the mainstream come 2020.



The sport of climbing has just reached new heights, thanks to the IOC’s announcement. In Tokyo, 60 climbers will compete in three disciplines: lead, where competitors have to climb within a set timeframe; bouldering, or climbing without ropes; and speed, where competitors race against the clock. 


Baseball (softball)

It’s the only traditional sport on the list and it could be said the sport got the nod largely because it has a massive following in Japan (hello, a guaranteed box-office draw).



The discipline will have to fight it out with the other combat sports on the list in order to retain it’s Olympic status beyond 2020 (the schedule for is pretty jam-packed). So far, 20 competitors will take part in the ‘kata’ discipline and another 60 will contest ‘kumite’ at the Tokyo Budokan, the spiritual home of Japanese martial arts.

Looking for more Olympic updates? Check out this think-piece on SA’s forgotten female sporting heroes.

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