There Are 6 New Olympic Sports—Here’s What You Need to Know

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From racewalking to the now-defunct tug of war competition, we’re always amazed by the wide range of activities that are deemed Olympics-worthy. Prior to the 2020 Tokyo games, there were 27 summer sports represented in more than 300 events. Since the committee recently added six new Olympic sports, the total number has been increased to 33.

Keep reading for details about the six new Olympic sports.

1. Skateboarding

The International Olympic Committee introduced skateboarding to attract young audiences. At the 2020 Tokyo games, the sport was dominated by Japanese skaters—while Yuto Horigome won first place in the men’s street competition, 13-year-old Momiji Nishiya became Japan’s youngest-ever gold medal winner.

2. Surfing

Since 1995, the International Surfing Association has been petitioning for the Olympics to include surfing...and it finally happened. Carissa Moore (USA) won the sport’s first-ever Olympic gold medal, followed by Bianca Buitendag (South Africa) with silver and Amuro Tsuzuki (Japan) with bronze. For the men, Ítalo Ferreira (Brazil) won the gold medal, beating out silver medalist Kanoa Igarashi (Japan) and bronze medalist Owen Wright (Australia).

3. Karate

Karate will debut on August 5, joining judo, taekwondo and wrestling as official Olympic sports. Although competitors can participate in two disciplines—kata (form) and kumite (sparring)—there are eight gold medals up for grabs: two for kata (one for men, one for women) and six for kumite (three weight categories for both men and women).

4. Sport Climbing

Debuting on August 3, sport climbing will consist of three different formats. First, there’s speed climbing, which is a two-person race on a fixed route. Next, there’s bouldering, which involves climbing—without safety ropes—as many routes within four minutes. Lastly, there’s lead climbing, where athletes ascend as high as possible on a 15-meter wall. And yes, speed counts.

5/6. Baseball & Softball

OK, baseball and softball aren’t new to the Olympic games. However, the sports weren’t included in the two previous games, partially because they aren’t as widespread as, let’s say, gymnastics and swimming. The biggest difference between the two sports is baseball is for men, and softball is for women. While softball has a larger ball and slightly shorter bat, both games consist of nine innings, with the teams alternating between offense and defense.

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