Next year brings us sports’ biggest summer, a mind-boggling event like no other – the Olympic Games. Every four years, the world’s greatest athletes come together for one of the most impressive spectacles on the planet.
With so many classic sports being featured, it can be easy to forget that every cycle brings us some new sports to sample at the highest level, but they can often provide some of the best stories.
The Tokyo Olympics sees the addition of 5 new sports, all with their own flavor to bring to the Games. Some look like they could become firm favorites with Olympic audiences. Others may miss out next time around in Paris. Nevertheless, they’ll all enjoy their moment in the spotlight!
The sport of climbing is being represented by three different disciplines (called lead, boulder, and speed), combining for a single medal – a bit like a triathlon. It’s colorful, it’s fast, and the competition is nerve-wrackingly close; they’re going to explode onto the Olympic stage, and it could be an instant classic!
A breath-taking inclusion for 2020, surfing is sure to ‘make a splash’! With the competition being held at Shiba Beach, competitors will be at the mercy of the waves – something they’re very used to. Although very different from established classics, surfing will continue to broaden the Olympic audience and offer something very different for viewers.
Like climbing and surfing, this is another sport that could be considered both an ‘extreme’ sport but also a ‘lifestyle’ sport. It will be interesting to see if all three of them gain a big following because they have an ‘alternative’ vibe some hardcore fans might not be interested in, but their mainstream appeal will go up.
A great addition to the Olympics martial arts calendar, karate will go alongside more established favorites like Tae Kwon Do. A longtime absentee from the Games, karate is set to become a permanent favorite, with millions of participants around the world. The martial arts heritage in Japan means this event is sure to be wildly popular with the locals.
Another new one. Expect this to have a ‘Marmite effect’; some will love it, others will hate it! A game that is similar in play and style to baseball, softball is a brilliant one for big crowds and a relaxed atmosphere. This is another new sport likely to be particularly exciting for a Japanese crowd; outside of America, Japan boasts the biggest baseball fanbase globally.
All five of these new sports look likely to be popular in different ways, but chances are that only a few of them will become permanent fixtures on the Olympic calendar, benefitting from the extra funding and profile that comes with that. Which ones do you think will be most popular?