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The Summer Olympics have officially begun and many people are eagerly sitting around their televisions hoping to get a glimpse of the athletes completing their lifetime goals. Although, this year you may have noticed a few additions to the Olympic events schedule. Athletes will have the chance to compete in five new (or returning) Olympic sports and events this year. This means that in 2021 there are 33 different sports taking place between July 23rd and August 8th. 

The five new and returning Olympic sports had to go through many steps in order to gain recognition to be included in the Games. Each event had to be recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and then move to International Sports Federation status. While in this status each sport must apply for admittance and await the decision of the IOC. 

One of the sports that successfully made it through this process was skateboarding. Both male and female skaters are able to participate in street and park skating competitions. The park skateboarding competition will take place in a bowl and each skater will have 45-second attempts to do any tricks they desire in order to impress a panel of judges. The street skateboarding competition will have obstacles, like ramps, rails and stairs, that the skaters will have to utilize in their tricks. 

Another sport that you will have the chance to watch this week is surfing. Both men and women will compete in surfing events. These events will be scored by a panel of judges and will be assessed based on five criteria:

  1. Commitment and degree of difficulty
  2. Innovative and progressive maneuvers
  3. Variety of maneuvers
  4. Combination of major maneuvers
  5. Speed, power and flow

Karate has also been added to this year’s Olympics. There will be two events in karate for both male and female competitors. One of the karate events, Kata, will be judged by seven people but the two highest and lowest scores for each competitor will not be counted in their total score. The Olympic committee has stated that competitors in Kata “will perform a series of offensive and defensive moves popularly known as forms.” The other karate event, Kumite, is scored based on a competitor’s ability to land a proper strike. 

The fourth new event is sport climbing. In the sport climbing event there are three disciplines: speed, lead and bouldering. In Speed, two competitors will have to climb identical walls as fast as possible. In Lead, athletes will have six minutes to climb as high on a wall as possible. Lastly, in Bouldering, competitors will attempt to climb the highest number of challenging routes to gain points.

The last event, or should I say events, that have joined the Olympics are baseball and softball. Both sports have previously been played in the Olympics but were removed from the roster after the 2008 games. But this year they are back and better than ever, and many people from all countries are excited about this addition. Unfortunately, neither sport will be included in the 2024 Olympics but it wouldn’t be a surprise if they returned again in the future. 

All of these events and others can be watched live on NBC or streamed on the NBC Sports app. 

My name is Julia Dehner and I am a Junior at the University of Missouri. I'm currently majoring in strategic communication through the journalism institute and minoring in Italian studies.
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