At the first Games, in Athens in 1896, there were competitions in nine different disciplines.
Four years later in Paris there were already 19. Since then the number has fluctuated, but has almost always been increasing.
In Rio de Janeiro in 2016, rugby was Olympic for the first time in history and golf returned after more than 100 years of absence, to reach 28 sports.
This summer in Tokyo, four more are added to the list of Olympic sports to, according to the committee, reflect "the urbanization of sport."
The events that open this year are karate, climbing, surfing and skateboarding.
There will also be several new disciplines in some established sports and baseball and softball are returning to the Games exclusively for this edition thanks to their popularity with local Japanese fans.
These are the new competitions that will debut this summer at the Olympic Games:
Spanish karate fighter Sandra Sánchez. Juan Carlos Hidalgo / EFE
Japan, the cradle of this ancient martial art, will host the first edition of karate as an Olympic competition.
Athletes will compete in the Nippon Budokan pavilion, built for the 1964 Tokyo Games, where judo events will also be held.
Karate has two disciplines:
(forms), in which there is no confrontation between fighters and is based on the demonstration of the different offensive and defensive movements that the judges will score;
(combat), which consists of the fight between two fighters and the one who connects the most well-executed blows in three minutes will be the winner, having three different categories by weight (in men, -67kg, -75kg, + 75kg; in women -55kg, -61kg, + 61kg).
Video report | Sandra Sánchez, the karateka who was marginalized for being next to her mother and who has returned to fight for the Olympic gold
In total there will be 80 karatecas (60 in
and 20 in
Spain not only has representation but also has in its ranks two of the main favorites to get a medal.
Sandra Sánchez, who competes in the discipline of
, was world champion in 2018 and arrives as number one in the world in Tokyo, considered "the best of all time" by the World Karate Federation.
Damián Quintero also attends the Olympic event as the world number one in the
, after winning 5 world medals (one gold, two silver and two bronze) and another 10 European (six gold and four silver).
The Slovenian Janja Garnbret in her World Climbing World Cup victory on July 3. FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP
Sport climbing competitions are usually divided into three separate disciplines with climbers specialized in each: blocks, difficulty and speed. In Tokyo, however, there is only one competition and athletes will have to participate in all three categories, from which a final average score will then be drawn. In the block event, the greatest number of routes must be completed in walls of maximum 4.5 meters high. The difficulty format consists of climbing a 15-meter wall without falling in the shortest time possible within a maximum of six minutes. Finally, in speed, two athletes compete to scale a 15-meter wall with a fixed route. To obtain the final score, the athlete's classification is multiplied in each of the tests (for example: 4th in blocks, 2nd in difficulty and 1st in speed,4x2x1 = 8) and a classification is made, rewarding the lowest scores.
Given the novel format of the competition at these Games, it is difficult to make predictions.
However, among women, six-time world champion Janja Garnbret from Slovenia, specializing in the blocks and difficulty disciplines, is the favorite for gold.
In the men's event, Czech Adam Ondra, also a blocks and difficulty specialist, will seek to add an Olympic metal to his five world titles.
For Spain competes the 18-year-old from Extremadura Alberto Ginés, who hopes to surprise and reach the podium.
American surfer Caroline Marks on June 22 in an exhibition during the Junior World Cup in California.Keith Birmingham / AP
Duke Kahanamoku, a three-time gold medalist in swimming and also considered the father of modern surfing, advocated for the sport's inclusion in the Olympic program more than a century ago. Now, after arduous negotiations, it has finally achieved its mission. Forty surfers from 17 different countries - 20 women, 20 men - will compete on Tsurigasaki Beach, located in Chiba Prefecture. The competition will consist of a
or traditional table, which refers to tables that measure between 1.50 and 2.10 meters in length.
In a round of half an hour each surfer can take up to a maximum of 25 waves per series to perform all the possible maneuvers that will be qualified by judges.
Of these, the two performances with the highest score will be counted for your series total, and will be the result of your round.
Four male and female athletes will compete in each lap.
Five Olympic debuts
In Tokyo there will be no representative of Spain in this new sport.
Aritz Aranburu, the first Spaniard to enter the Championship Tour (the first surf division, where the 34 first in the world are classified, 17 in the female case), has not succeeded.
Great competitors such as Brazilians Gabriel Medina and Italo Ferreira or Americans Carissa Moore and Caroline Marks will fight for the first Olympic medals in surfing.
The Spanish skater Danny León training in Boadilla del Monte, in Madrid.Carlos Rosillo
11 years ago,
used to only be part of the X Games (the most important extreme sports competition) with its own disciplines, but for these Games it will be competed in the two most established disciplines:
Street and Park.
athletes use obstacles such as railings, stairs, walls or ramps to perform their tricks and demonstrate their skills in three rounds of 45 seconds and five attempts of specific exercises; from there an average of points is obtained. While in the
the competition takes place on a concave track called the
they must climb up the sides at high speed to make aerial movements. In this case, there are two rounds of 45 seconds in which they will seek to add the highest possible average. In each case there will be a qualifying phase and a final phase in which the competitors do their individual routines and are valued for their originality and difficulty.
Among the 80 athletes who will compete for four gold medals there will be three Spaniards: Julia Benedetti, Jaime Mateu and Danny León.
However, the favorites among men are the American Nyjah Huston -who has won the last three World Cups- and Tom Schaar -who is the first
to complete a "1080", that is, to go three full laps in the air and fall on the table-.
Among the women, the Brazilians Leticia Bufoni, Pamela Rosa and Rayssa Leal are the favorites to win the medal, accompanied by the Japanese Aori Nishimura, and the young British woman Sky Brown, who at 13 is the most precocious Olympic athlete in the history of the country.
New urban disciplines.
The competitor Domenica Mora of Ecuador falls during the semifinal of women sub23, in the BMX World Cup.Mauricio Dueñas Castañeda / EFE
In addition to new sports, the IOC has also promoted its commitment to “urban sports” with the inclusion of Freestyle BMX and 3x3 Basket disciplines, new cycling and basketball formats. In the BMX competition there are nine participants in the male and female category, and the
will have two rounds of 60 seconds to perform all possible exercises and achieve the maximum score, which will be taken from the average of the two performances. Australian Logan Martin, champion of the Urban Cycling World Championship this year, is the favorite in the men's category. In the women's, all eyes are on American Hannah Roberts, winner of the 2021 BMX Freestyle World Championship.
Three-player basketball is a reduced version in all respects of the traditional one. The matches last 10 minutes, only one basket is used and the time of possession of the teams is also reduced by half, from 24 seconds to 12. Points are also reduced, with the baskets being worth two points from outside the perimeter and one from within. If a team reaches 21 points they automatically win, and if the 10 minutes are finished with a tie, there will be extra time until one reaches a two-point advantage. The big favorite to get a medal in the men's category is Serbia, which has been champion of the last five world championships and has the best player in the world, Dušan Bulut. In the female, favoritism is more distributed, but France stands out above the others,with the three best players in the world in his team: Laetitia Guapo, Migna Touré and Ana Maria Filip. Spain will not have representation in either of these two disciplines.
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