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Surf’s up: five more sports approved for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Surfboarding, skateboarding, sport climbing and karate to be new Olympic sports, baseball/softball returns to Games

Pack your bat and glove, your chalk bag and two boards — surf and skate — for Tokyo 2020. If you have a black belt, bring it along too.

On Wednesday (3 August), the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved the addition of five sports to the programme of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The five sports are baseball/softball, karate, sport climbing, skateboarding and surfing.

The five sports, which were proposed for inclusion last September by Tokyo organisers, were approved unanimously by the IOC members. Under new IOC rules, local host organisers can propose the inclusion of at least one additional sport for their Games. This latest approval is exclusively for Tokyo 2020.

The new sports will add 18 events and 474 athletes to the Olympic programme. The Tokyo Games will now feature 33 sports and about 11,000 athletes, compared to the 10,500 athletes expected at Rio 2016.

While baseball and softball — both highly popular in Japan — will be returning after a 16-year absence, the other sports will all be making their Olympic debuts.


Skateboarding will have street and park events, and feature 80 athletes — 40 men and 40 women.

In climbing, 40 competitors will take part in the disciplines of speed, bouldering and lead (also known as sport).

Karate will have 80 athletes competing in men’s and women’s Kumite and Kata events.

Surfing will have two shortboard events for 40 competitors.

Organisers hope skateboarding will catch on with worldwide viewers in the same way as the snowbard halfpipe has in the Winter Olympic Games.

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