Tokyo 2020: New Olympics sports you'll fall in love with

Yahoo Sport UK

It’s one year to go until Tokyo 2020 and the global spectacle of the Olympic Games.

The greatest sporting event on the planet returns to the Japanese capital after a 56-year absence, with many of those 1964 venues being used once again.

Five new or returning sports will grace the Games, here’s a lowdown of the events you will fall in love with next summer.

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Baseball and Softball

Baseball only became an official sport at the 1992 Games in Barcelona. (Credit: Getty Images)
Baseball only became an official sport at the 1992 Games in Barcelona. (Credit: Getty Images)

Debut year: 1992 (Baseball), 1996 (Softball)

A brief history: Although baseball has flirted with the Olympics since 1912, it only became an official sport at the 1992 Games in Barcelona.

Before the 90s, it was played on an exhibition basis at sporadic Games and reportedly was set to become an official sport at the 1940 Olympics - before World War Two scuppered those plans, along with any momentum for official status.

It was dropped from the roster, along with softball, after the 2008 Games in Beijing.

Men or women? Baseball will be contested by men only, while softball will be played by women.


READ MORE: What London 2012 venues look like now

READ MORE: Tokyo 2020 - a first glimpse at new Olympic medals


Karate

Both forms of karate will be available to men and women. (Credit: Getty Images)
Both forms of karate will be available to men and women. (Credit: Getty Images)

Debut year: 2020

A brief history: Karate is a form of martial art which was popularised after World War Two.

Men or women? Two different varieties of karate will be hosted; kata (forms) and kumite (sparring), with both available to men and women.

What’s the difference?: Kata is determined by a points-based system, based on three offensive techniques. Matches last no longer than two (women) or three (men) minutes, and the winner is the athlete who amasses eight points more than their opponent, or finishes with the most points. Draws are determined by who claimed the first point.

Kumite is the judgment of attacking and defensive movements against a virtual opponent based on form, in which judges raise the colour (blue or red) of the respective competitor to state their winner.

Sport climbing

Bouldering, lead and speed climbing will be competed by both men and women. (Credit: Getty Images)
Bouldering, lead and speed climbing will be competed by both men and women. (Credit: Getty Images)

Debut year: 2020

A brief history: Competitive climbing is a relatively new sport. Sport climbing, with a focus on speed climbing, originated in the Soviet Union. An event in 1985 called Sport Roccia was the first competition for lead climbing. The International Federation of Sport Climbing was formed in 2007.

Men or women?: Bouldering, lead and speed climbing will be competed by both men and women.

What’s the difference? Speed climbing pits two competitors against one another, climbing one fixed route along a 15 metre wall.

In bouldering, competitors attempt a number of routes on a 4m wall, while in lead climbing, they attempt to climb as high as possible on a wall more than 15m in height.

Each climber will compete across all three disciplines, with a combined score establishing the medal winners.

Surfing

20 men and 20 women will be entered in different surfing competitions. (Credit: Getty Images)
20 men and 20 women will be entered in different surfing competitions. (Credit: Getty Images)

Debut year: 2020

A brief history: Surfing as sport rather than just a pastime emerged at the start of the 20th century, and then reached a new level of popularity with the development of a surfing culture in California and Hawaii in the 1960s. There is a championship tour called The World Surf League.

Fun fact: Surfing was made popular by Hawaiian Duke Kahanamoku, who won three gold medals in swimming over the course of the 1912 and 1920 Olympic Games.

Men or women? Shortboard will be open to both genders, with 20 men and 20 women entered in different competitions.

What’s the difference? Longboards are nine feet in length, while shortboards - those used in Tokyo 2020 - are six feet.

The pointed tip of the shortboard supposedly aids turning and manoeuvring.

Skateboarding

Two varieties of skateboarding will be involved; street and park. (Credit: Getty Images)
Two varieties of skateboarding will be involved; street and park. (Credit: Getty Images)

Debut year: 2020

A brief history: The sport is believed to have originated in America’s west coast in the 1940s, before becoming more mainstream from the following decade after metal wheels were replaced with plastic.

Skateboarding rose to prominence during the 1980s, though, especially with youngsters.

Men or women?: Two varieties of skateboarding will be involved; street and park. Both are available to all genders.

What’s the difference?: Street skateboarding is held on a street-like course, where individuals compete to demonstrate a range of skills, while a park competition is based on a hollowed-out course.

More information on the Tokyo 2020 sports can be found here.

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