Though the Summer 2020 Olympics had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, with hope in (washed) hands we can look forward to the Olympics happening in Summer 2021. In anticipation for those games, let’s review the five new sports entering (or re-entering) competition on the Olympic world stage.
Righteous! Surfing finally gets the Olympic nod, and for good reason. Surfing has long held worldwide competitions, is hugely entertaining to watch, and will bring in younger viewers. Keep an eye on the Brazil men’s team and Australia women’s as they compete at Shidashita Beach just outside of Tokyo. That is, unless Kelly Slater builds a first.
Another move to bring in a younger viewership and spectator-friendly sports. Remember when traditionalists pushed against snowboarding in the Winter Olympics? Shaun White and the rest of the snowboarding world quickly cemented it as a fan favorite, so there’s good reason to think skateboarding will stick. Events premiering in 2021 will be Park and Street competitions.
Rock climbing is gaining popularity around the world, and its entertainment factor can be seen on such popular shows such as American Ninja Warrior and raw, gripping documentaries such as and The Dawn Wall. Three climbing competitions are slated: Speed, Bouldering and Lead.
Adding karate to Olympic classic events of boxing and wrestling is an excellent choice. The competition in Tokyo will come full circle taking place in Nippon Budokan which was the site of the first world championships in 1970. The two events will be kata (a solo form of karate) and kumite (sparring).
Baseball and Softball
Not exactly new to the Olympic world stage, these two will make their first appearance since 2008. Japan has a strong following in both sports (Team Japan is ranked #1 in the world for softball). Games will be played in the Tokyo Dome which is one of the most popular venues for the sport worldwide.
Esports have arrived. They are a worldwide mega-industry and top colleges in the U.S. have teams and programs dedicated to them. And while Esports hasn’t quite cracked through to the Olympic games, we believe it should. And so does Intel—the is an Olympic-sanctioned tournament leading up to the summer games. It will feature tournaments for Rocket League and Street Fighter V with a combined prize purse of $500,000 on the line. Time to get serious if you want to represent your country and compete for the cash. Since it is an Open format, anyone has a chance to qualify. Open qualifiers will be held in early 2021 with a live qualifying event leading up to the main event in Japan before the Olympics. If you’re still not convinced about including Esports in the Olympics (which I think you probably are), check out this compelling article in the . The only question is: who is going to make the Esports uniforms...Fnatic?
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