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The 2020 Summer Olympics (or the Games of the XXXII Olympiad, if you’re feeling fancy) are popping off in Tokyo from July 24 to August 9, 2020, with some preliminary events starting as early as July 22.
As with every Olympics—and in the noble, friendly spirit of these worldwide games—Team USA will once again look to whoop dat ass. But here’s the thing: the XXXII Olympiad will see the inclusion of five new sports in Tokyo, three of which slot under the “extreme sports” category we so cherish here at Blenders. Below, we’ve got the 411 on their inclusion and how things will go down.
We started with skateboarding for a reason— Tom Schaar, Blenders brand ambassador and hot off his selection for the Forbes 30 Under 30 - Sports List, has been named to the first-ever USA Skateboarding National Team with a distinct chance to represent Team USA at the Games. Dope, right?
Now, to skateboarding’s inclusion, specifically: Park and Street for men and women will both be featured at these Olympics. While many of you already know, Park entails skating amongst a collection of half pipes, bowls, quarter pipes, and more. At these Games, it will be the same setup used in the BMX competition. Each participant will be awarded points by a panel of judges predicated upon their speed, grabs, jump height, and more.
Street entails skating within a natural, urban environment and taking advantage of benches, rails, and the like in order to land tricks and score points. Tokyo’s judges will grade competitors across three timed runs, with the best score counting.
Fancy “surf ranch” pools may be opening globally, but these Olympics will focus solely on real waves at Shidashita Beach in Chiba, located roughly 40 miles outside of Tokyo. Twenty men and twenty women (two per nation) will compete in separate shortboard categories, with judges grading heat performances based upon speed, power, variety, etc. Four athletes compete simultaneously in heats, with each lasting 20 to 25 minutes.
Since competition is dependent on surfable waves, there will be a waiting period of 16 days. Once the event begins, it will take two days to complete.
The last of the “extreme” sports at these Games is “Sport Climbing.” This consists of three separate formats—bouldering, lead climbing, and speed climbing.
Bouldering is a highly technical rock climbing discipline that entails free climbing up short rock/climbing wall sections without ropes. The athlete that hits the set challenge in the fewest attempts in a timed period wins.
Speed climbing pits two participants head-to-head in a knock-out format. The first to scale a 15m wall wins.
Lead climbing involves scaling a preset route on a climbing wall with the use of ropes. An athlete wins one of two ways: either reaching the highest point among all competitors before falling, or reaching the top of the course fastest.
After a two-Games absence, men’s baseball and women’s softball return to this Olympiad. If we have to explain this sport to you, well… yeah. You should be good. One thing to note, though: Team USA Baseball looks to shine bright after winning the most recent World Baseball Classic, and Team USA Softball is primed to defend their world championship.
It’s surprising that karate has never been featured at a previous Tokyo Olympics, isn’t it? Regardless, it makes its Olympic debut for 2020, with two disciplines: kumite and kata. Kumite is the sparring event and features three weight classes for both men and women. Kata, the form discipline, will host one event for the men and one for the women.
Be sure to stick with us as we follow Tom Schaar’s qualification for the 2020 Games!