The Tokyo Olympics will be an opportunity to discover four new sports: surfing, climbing, basketball and karate. Softball, which is especially popular in the Japanese archipelago, is making a comeback.
Without the onlookers due to Covid19, the battle for gold still looks exciting. In terms of surfing in the absence of aging icon Kelly Slater who failed to qualify, Brazilians Italo Ferreira and Gabriel Medina and American John John Florence are among the favorites among the men. As an American-Australian women’s duel looms on the horizon, with Americans Carissa Moore and Caroline Marks and Australians Stephanie Gilmore and Sally Fitzgibbons. On the French side, the target is two medals, one for men and one for women.
Another trendy sport of skateboarding, it will be divided into two competitions: downhill, i.e. a track that combines a dome with a variety of intricate curves, and “street”, which resembles a street with ramps, sidewalks and ramps.
In the women’s case, the gold medal could go to a college girl: the reigning world champion, Japan’s Misogo Okamoto, is just 15 years old, while her top competitor, Sky Brown, who will represent the United Kingdom, is still younger (13 years old). As for the men, American Nyjah Huston is almost a veteran at the top of 26 years and four world titles.
In the new Olympic system of sport climbing, athletes will compete in three different events: climb difficulty, speed, and wall (or rock) and their final ranking will be determined by their combined results across the three disciplines.
On the men’s front, Czech Adam Ondra is poised to be the frontrunner, although he will have serious competitors such as Canadian Sean McColl, Austrian Jacob Schubert and Japan’s Tomoa Narasaki. On the women’s side, world climbing fencing sponsor Janja Garnpreet of Slovenia, currently 22, could go head-to-head against Japan’s Akio Noguchi (today’s 32) who is aiming for an Olympic title at the height of her rich record.
Le come-back du baseball / softball
Baseball/softball returns to the Olympics this year, for the first time since the 2008 Beijing Games, and the men’s tournament promises to be very open. Six national teams will compete in the Olympic baseball tournament, four of which have already qualified. Japan, which is automatically selected as the host country, will be able to count especially on its superstar Shuhei Ohtani and on the enthusiasm of the Japanese public keen on the sport. South Korea – the most recent Olympic winner to date – and Mexico, Israel, the United States and the Dominican Republic have qualified.
As for softball, whose rules are similar to those of baseball but played on a smaller court, its Olympic version will be for women’s teams. Americans are the top candidates. They will face Mexico, Canada, Australia, Japan and Italy. France is not qualified as in baseball.