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New events for the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics

We take a look at the new events on the schedule for the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics.

San Clemente surfer and member of the USA Surfing Team, Kolohe Andino gets in some last minute practice at Bolsa Chica State Beach as he heads to the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The IOC in 2014 recommended that the Olympics continue to have “approximately 10,500 athletes, 5,000 accredited coaches and athletes’ support personnel, and 310 events” for each of the Summer games. But it also began to allow the Olympic Games Organizing Committees to make a proposal for the inclusion of one or more additional events on the programme for that edition of the Games.

The 2020 Tokyo Games are the first to fully integrate this model, and the Japanese organizers have added four sports to be competed for full gold, silver, and bronze medals. Also baseball and softball return to the main program, and will be sponsored for the first time after a 13-year hiatus from the Games.

Here’s a brief breakdown on each of the sports added to the 2020 Olympic program.


Baseball and softball return for the first time since 2008. Baseball alone had been a demonstration sport eight times until being fully added to the Olympic programme in 1992 in Barcelona. Softball joined as the attached sport in Atlanta in 1996,

Both sports are governed by the World Baseball Softball Confederation, which merged the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and International Softball Federation (ISF) in 2013. Both sports were removed in by the International Olympic Committee in 2005, and added back to the programme in 2016. No matter what, we’ll see both in Paris in 2024.


There are two forms of karate, but only one sees you competing against an opponent. Kata is a display of martial arts that is a practitioner against air. It’s almost as much art form as skill.

Kumite is the Daniel LaRussa Karate Kid kind of action, not the Frank Dux Bloodsport kind of action: Two opponents try to kick and punch each other to score points, except there’s a gold medal instead of the All-Valley Tournament trophy for the winner. Both men and women will compete in both forms.


Just like you remember, and there’s two versions: park and street. The rules are similar, but the dynamics and obstacles of both courses are different. And at least for this Olympics, there is no aerial half-pipe competition.

Did you know the governing body of skateboarding also covers artistic roller skating, inline hockey ... and roller derby? I never had a dream to serve on an international governing body until now.

Sport Climbing

The sport got somewhat the short end of the stick here as while there are three different disciplines (bouldering, lead climbing, and speed climbing), only one set of medals for both men and women will be awarded. There will be 20 men and 20 women competing.

This will change in 2024 where speed climbing becomes its own event while the other two are combined, but for now it’s like asking a 100-meter dash sprinter to have one-third of their grade based on the marathon. It doesn’t make a ton of sense.


Look what The Beach Boys finally wrought. There will be 20 men and 20 women competing at Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach, and they’ll head out in heats of four for 20 to 35 minutes depending on conditions. The best two waves are the only ones that count, so competitors will try and catch a ride as many times as possible.

Scores are from 1 to 10 with two decimal places, and of the five judges the highest and lowest scores are discarded. The average of the remaining three is your score.