5 hotly anticipated new sports are making their debut in the Tokyo 2021 Games. Their inclusion will add an additional 18 events to the schedule and welcome just over 400 new Olympic athletes to the Games who would have otherwise have not had the opportunity to participate. They are:
- Baseball/Softball: 6 national teams will participate in this sport which is particularly beloved in Japan. Some of the competing teams such as Israel, Japan and South Korea have already been selected.
- Surfing: 20 male and 20 female shortboarders will hit the waves (weather permitting) at Shidashita Beach, in Chiba over an 2 day competitive period.
- Karate: will have Kumite and Kata events with 8 gold medals up for grabs.
- Skateboarding: will feature 20 athletes and two more structured competitive disciplines – park and street, though the free-styling element of the sport seems to have been greatly constrained.
- Sport Climbing: will specifically include ‘bouldering’ and ‘lead and speed’ competitive climbing.
These sports join other contemporary additions in recent times, such as BMX biking, which are credited with increasing participation and engagement in sport across younger generations and new audiences. Within included sporting disciplines there have been other additions such as Madison cycling and 3×3 basketball. The International Olympic Committee has said that these additions are not permanent but added specifically for the Summer Olympics 2021. This is due to new rules which permit hosts to select additional sports alongside the permanent program.