While the Olympics focus on their history, they also try to refresh the program to broaden appeal, include popular sports in host countries and reflect changing attitudes.
The International Olympic Committee has said it wants to promote “youth-oriented sports” and make “gender equality a major goal for Tokyo”.
The Games will feature six sports that were not on the program in Rio as well as four new disciplines in existing sports and a series of mixed events in traditional sports.
Two of these new sports, baseball and softball, are hardly new to the Olympics. Baseball made its first appearance in 1904 in St. Louis, softball in 1996. Both were abandoned in 2008, victims of the constant battle to control the number of contestants at the Games.
A change in approach by the IOC, aimed at increasing the number of sports from Tokyo, facilitated the return of baseball and softball.
Overall, Tokyo will offer more sports as well as more chances of winning gold, with a record 339 medals.
Yet while the IOC predicts that a record 11,091 athletes will participate, some sports, especially newcomers, have small allowances.
There will only be 18 BMX Freestyle competitors, 40 surfers and 16 3 × 3 basketball teams made up of four members.
Four sports make their Olympic debuts in Tokyo.
As part of the attempt to attract a younger audience, skateboarding follows snowboarding, which was added to the Olympic Winter program in 1998.
# photo1 Reflecting the roots of the sport, there will be park and street events. The skate park will take place in a bowl and will focus on flow and tricks. The street competition will take place on a course including street obstacles such as stairs and rails.
Surfers will take the big Olympic jump on Tsurigasaki Beach, 100 kilometers west of Tokyo on the Pacific coast. The event will open with 30-minute rounds in which four or five surfers compete for promising wave tops and end with a series of two-competitor rounds. While the competition is scheduled to start on July 25 and last for four days, the dates are fluid to allow organizers to wait for better waves.
Rope climbing was part of the gymnastics program of the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896, it last appeared in 1932 and returned in a very different format and as a separate sport.
# photo2The competition will take place over three specially constructed walls, two 15m flanking one 4.5m, at Aomi Urban Sports Park. The small wall is intended for bouldering, which consists of climbing on fixed routes. A higher wall is for speed climbing, a two-man race to the top. The other is for the lead, in which climbers race against the clock.
Japanese sport making its Olympic debut, at the suggestion of the hosts, evolved on the island of Okinawa.
There will be two competitions.
In kata, individuals demonstrate their mastery of defensive and offensive movements that they have chosen from among the 102 recognized by the sport. Competitors are judged on “strength, speed, pace, balance and power of strikes and kicks; solidity, clarity and strength of movements; and the appropriate expression of the meaning of each technique with a beautiful fluid movement ”.
In kumite, the combat discipline, athletes compete in three weight classes.
The site is the Nippon Budokan, which was built for the 1964 games, where it housed judo, and in 1970 hosted the very first world karate championships.
CYCLING: BMX FREESTYLE
Acrobatic cycling is also coming to the Olympics with BMX Freestyle joining BMX Racing, which has been part of the Games since 2008.
The sport will use the BMX park format. Riders have 60 seconds to perform stunts over obstacles such as walls and ramps called boxes and thorns. They are rated on difficulty, originality, execution, height and creativity.
BASKET-BALL : 3X3
Just like skateboarding, basketball is taking over the streets of Tokyo with the addition of three-on-three competitions for men and women.
The playing field variant is played on a half court using a basket. Games end when a team reaches 21 points (there are no three pointers) or after 10 minutes.
MIXED TEAM EVENTS
Several traditional sports mix genres with events in which men and women compete.
Swimming, athletics and triathlon are in addition to mixed relays.
In all three, the teams will be made up of two men and two women. In swimming, they will compete in a 4x100m medley, in track and field in a 4x400m relay and in triathlon in the shorter sprint format.
There will be mixed pairs air pistol, air rifle, and trap shooting and archery competitions.
Judo will have a team event with three men and three women, of different weight categories, in each team.
Table tennis brings mixed doubles.
© 2021 AFP