Climbing Leads the Way for New Olympic Sports

Sport Climbing, Surfing and Karate are among the new Olympic sports set to debut in Tokyo this summer.

Sport Climbing

There will be five new sports at this summer’s Olympic Games, offering even more events for spectators in Tokyo.

We look at the new additions and what you can look forward to at the delayed 2020 Games – which get underway on July 23.

Sport Climbing

There will be three different sections to the Sport Climbing discipline – Speed Climbing, Bouldering and Lead Climbing.

The Speed Climbing sees two participants race against each other up a 15m wall, which will see the men complete in around five or six seconds and the women at around seven or eight seconds.

Bouldering sees climbers scale several fixed routes on a 4m wall, without ropes, within a given time. With the climber that solves the most ‘problems’ in the lowest number of attempts, the winner.

Lead Climbing sees the athletes try to climb as high as possible up a 15m overhanging wall, in a six-minute time period. The climber that reaches the highest point wins.

The gold medal is awarded to the climber with the highest cumulative score across the three disciplines, with 20 athletes competing in both the men’s and women’s events.


A panel of judges will decide who wins the first surfing gold medals, with Shidshita beach the venue for this summer’s event.

There will be 20 competitors in both the men’s and women’s competitions and they will be split into heats of four surfers, with the best two going through to the next round.

The judges scores will be based on the difficulty of manoeuvres, along with the likes of speed, power and flow.


Judo has been a long-time staple of the Olympics, but now Karate enters the fray with 80 athletes competing in two styles – forms and sparring.

Forms (Kata) is a demonstration of offensive and defensive movements to a virtual opponent and the competitors are judged on the likes of strength, speed, rhythm and balance.

Kumite (Sparring) sees two people compete on the mat, and use three techniques – striking, kicking and punching. Competitors score points for landing strikes in the target area.

Baseball / Softball

Despite most people seeing Baseball and Softball as American sports, they are also of huge interest in Japan and are likely to be a very popular return to the Olympic ranks, having been absent since 2008.

Men will compete in Baseball, using a small and harder ball, while Softball is the female event, with a bigger ball used and the pitcher is forced to pitch underarm.

Both sports see nine players in each team, with the winner being the team with the most runs after nine innings.


After being a big sport in the X-Games, Skateboarding enters the Olympics this year and there will be two events – Park and Street.

Park sees competitors showing off their skills and tricks in a half-pipe environment, with judges scoring them on difficulty, originality and execution.

Street is judged on a similar scale, with athletes showing their tricks on the likes of stairs, handrails, walls and slopes.

Warren has been employed as a sport journalist for over two decades and as well as years of written experience, has also worked in other areas of the media including radio and television. Football has always been his number one passion, but has also commentated and written on a number of other sports including golf, cricket, tennis and rugby.
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