What new sports are coming to the Tokyo Olympics?

Baseball/softball will make what’s likely a one-time return, while others will be first-time Olympic sports

Photo by Carl Court (Getty Images)

While much of the Olympic attention from U.S. viewers will be on sports such as swimming, gymnastics, track and field and basketball, those who want something different will get a chance to tune in for five new sports at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

(And yes, even though we’re now in 2021, the Games are still being referred to as the 2020 Summer Olympics). The more you know, right?

Here’s a breakdown of each new sport people will have a chance to watch.


These sports haven’t been contested in the Olympics since 2008, and this will likely only be a one-time resumption. Baseball is wildly popular in Japan, which wanted to reinstate the sport for the Games it is hosting. It would be stunning if these sports are played again in Paris in 2024. But those who like these sports at the Olympics can at least get to enjoy it again this year. The U.S. is a softball powerhouse and has already qualified in that sport. In baseball, the U.S. still needs to qualify before the Games start. The Americans usually send college or minor-league players to the Olympics because professional players are in the midst of their season.


Judo, Boxing, Wrestling and Tae Kwon Do are already Olympic sports, but this year, Karate will join the fray for the first time. There will be two disciplines of Karate: Kumite and Kata. Kumite is a sparring discipline that will have three weight classes each for men and women, while Kata is a form discipline that will have one event each for men and women.


In an effort to establish a younger audience captivated by the X-Games each year, the International Olympic Committee adopted this sport for Tokyo. There will be two disciplines, Park and Street. Park is competing on a series of ramps, half pipes, bowls and quarter pipes, where competitors are awarded points from judges based on criteria met. Street is skating on a course with obstacles such as handrails, benches, stairs and boxes. Skaters are awarded points for the difficulty of the moves they perform.

Sport/Rock Climbing

There will be three different formats for this new sport: Bouldering, lead climbing and speed climbing.

Bouldering will require participants to climb up short sections of rock or climbing walls without the use of ropes.

Lead climbing will consist of participants climbing a designated route on a wall while attached to ropes.

Speed climbing will feature participants going head-to-head where they will try and climb a 15-meter wall faster than their opponents.


This competition will take place in Shidshita Beach, which is roughly 40 miles from Tokyo. A team of judges will rate competitors based on maneuvers on the waves, graded by variety, difficulty level, speed, power and flow.

Which one of these new sports would you want to watch the most? Let us know in the comments below.

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.