New Olympic Sports
The postponed Tokyo Olympics start on July 23rd, just a month away. Spectators will be reduced to 50% capacity among locals only, despite the objections of the Country’s top medical advisor. NBC will be the main source of Olympics information for Americans, having paid $4.38 billion for the U.S. broadcasting rights.
Four new sports will join the ticket for the first time ever, bringing the total number of 2021 Tokyo Olympics disciplines to 33: surfing, skateboarding, sport climbing and karate. Softball and baseball will rejoin after a 13 year absence, after having been dropped from the 2012 Games – the first time in 69 years that any sport was removed from the Olympic program. For this reason, they don’t make our “new” list.
Today is Part I of our New Olympic Sports coverage, and our blog focuses on surfing and skateboarding. We’ll cover sport climbing and karate in Part II in the next few weeks before the Tokyo Olympics.
Team USA’s foursome is comprised of: Kolohe (which means “little rascal) Andino, Carissa Moore (“Riss”), Caroline Marks and John (“John John”) Florence.
The pride of our Nation, Carissa is the #1 ranked female surfer in the World, Gabriel Medina (from Brazil) shares the same spot among surfers with XY chromosomes.
Team USA’s Kolohe is 27 years old, from San Clemente, CA. Carissa and John, are both from Honolulu, HI and both 28 years old, while Caroline is the baby of the pack at 19 years old, from Boca Raton, FL.
Surfing will take place at Tsurigasaki Beach in Ichinomiya on Chiba Prefecture's Pacific coastline from July 25 – August 1.
“Historically in Japanese culture, the beach is considered a doorway for God to enter from the ocean and onto land.” (Ben Wei)
The event will involve a total of 20 male and 20 female athletes competing in 3 rounds, and 3 finals comprised of 30-minute heats. Round 1 features 4 athletes per heat, while round 2 will have 5. From round 3 onward, the competition turns to a one-on-one format. During the heats, each surfer will have 30 minutes to catch as many waves as he/she can and receive a score from 0-10 for every wave surfed; however, only the top 2 waves from each surfer are calculated into the final score.
Waves are scored by a panel of experienced judges using a 5-point system:
- Commitment and difficulty: This factor is the most important and judges the types, degree of difficulty, and risk of the moves performed. Additionally, because all waves are different, athletes are also judged on how high-risk the wave they have chosen is, and how committed that surfer is to maximise the potential scoring opportunities on each wave.
- Innovation and progression: In addition to the standard manoeuvres in a surfer’s repertoire, the judges will also award points for those who push the boundaries of modern surfing with progressive moves such as aerial or tail slide variations
- Variety: While quality is the most important, judges are also looking out for athletes who incorporate many different types of manoeuvres into their surfing
- Combination: This point considers how seamlessly a surfer can connect high-scoring manoeuvres such as barrels, turns, and aerials on the same wave
- Speed, power and flow: This age-old surfing mantra refers to an athlete’s style on a wave, but also the subtle technical elements that separate good surfers from great ones. The ability to react to shifting conditions on a wave and maintain proper speed to perform high-scoring manoeuvres, the amount of power that is going into each move so that it can be displayed at its highest potential, and a flow in the way that a surfer connects each move from start to finish
You can’t get anymore home-grown, apple pie than skateboarding. Originally called sidewalk surfing by some, early skaters mimicked surfing styles and manoeuvers, and performed barefoot. If you haven’t seen the movie Dogtown and Z-Boys, now is the time to watch it, or to watch it again; this documentary movie is incredible:
Here’s an old-timers reunion short that is also a good watch:
And here’s another video about girl skateboarding in Spain, with an American contingent:
“You didn’t quit skateboarding because you got old, you got old because you quit skateboarding.” (Jay Adams)
“I’ll tell you one of the great activities is skateboarding. To learn to do a skateboard trick, how many times do you gotta get something wrong ‘til you get it right? …And you hurt yourself, and you learned to do that trick, now you got a life lesson. Every time I see those skateboard kids, I think: “Those kids will be alright”.” (Jerry Seinfeld)
There will be 2 distinct disciplines of skateboarding at the Tokyo Olympics: Street and Park, with 6 U.S. competitors in each discipline, split by gender.
The members of the U.S. Olympic Team in the Street discipline are: (men) 26 year old Nyjah (“Soul Crusher”) Huston from Davis, CA, 24 year old Jake Ilardi from Osprey, FL and 22 year old Zion (“Muscle Milk”) Wright from Jupiter, FL; (women) 34 year old Alexis Sablone from Old Saybrook, CT, 24 year old Mariah Duran from Albuquerque, NM and 20 year old Alana Smith from Mesa, FL.
Nyjah is the #1 ranked male street skateboarder in the World. Pamela Rosa from Brazil is his female counterpart.
Street skateboarding courses are designed to replicate real-world urban terrain and consist of stair sets, handrails, benches, walls and slopes to mimic a real street. This type of skateboarding is characterized by athletes riding along curbs and rails, leaping into the air without using hands, and that familiar grind of board-on-metal.
The first Street skateboarding event will be held on July 25th and 26th. Competitors will be required to skate the “street” course in 2 different ways: a timed “run” where a sequence of tricks is performed for 45 seconds, and a “trick” section consisting of 5 separate attempts to perform tricks of the athlete’s choosing.
The members of the U.S. Olympic Team in the Park discipline are: (men) 22 year old Heimana (“Salamander”) Reynolds from Honolulu, HI, 20 year old Jagger Eaton from Mesa, AZ and Cory Juneau from San Diego, CA; (women) 17 year old Jordan Santana from Houston, TX, and 16 year olds Bryce Wettstein from Encinitas, CA and Brighton Zeuner from Scottsdale, AZ.
Japan has some excellent female Park talent, including 15 year old Misugu Okamoto:
Park terrain courses are based on transitional concrete bowls from 5 to 10 feet in depth that are nearly vertical at the top. Skaters send themselves to dizzying heights, performing jaw-dropping spins and tricks midair, and then gracefully bring themselves back down to the bowl to do it all over again on the other side.
Park competitors will have 3 attempts on August 4th and 5th to execute their best 45-second “run”, consisting of any desired tricks during their run, generating and maintaining momentum as they move through the course.
Both disciplines will take place at the Ariake Urban Sports Park in Koto City, Tokyo.
Are helmets required? Will Olympic announcers actually use the derogatory term “goofy” to describe lefties? We will know soon enough …
Now challenge yourself and your friends to our New Olympic Sports Quiz of the Day, by downloading Quizefy from the app store if you haven’t already done so, then see how much you know and Strut Your Smart. Our New Olympic Sports Quiz is only available today, then it disappears. We’ll be back again every Tuesday with a special blog posted at www.quizefy.com, along with a new trivia quiz on the same topic as the blog. Don’t forget to follow Quizefy in social media, so we can remind you of upcoming blog and quiz content.