But the 2021 Games will feature six sports kids have never seen at the Olympics: surfing, karate, sport climbing, skateboarding, baseball and softball. (Baseball and softball were Olympic sports in the 1990s and 2000s, but the International Olympic Committee voted to drop them after the 2008 Games.) Let’s take a look at these new and returning Olympic sports.
The surfing and karate competitions will take place at cool venues. The surf will be up at Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach on the Pacific Ocean about 60 miles outside of Tokyo.
The karate matches will take place at the Nippon Budakon. Karate is popular in Japan, and the Nippon Budakon is sort of the Yankee Stadium of the sport.
Most kids have tried skateboarding, but the Olympic competitions won’t be like rolling down your street or in your school parking lot. Skateboarding will have two kinds of events: street and park.
In the street competition, skateboarders will navigate a course full of stairs, handrails, benches and slopes made to resemble what a skater might find on a real city street.
In the park competition, the athletes will speed through a course with twists and turns as well as high walls, where the competitors will send themselves to eye-popping heights.
Skaters, some as young as 12 years old, will be judged on the tricks they perform. One more thing, they will do this to music. Things may get loud.
There will be three types of sport climbing. Speed climbing is when two athletes race up a 15-meter wall (about 50 feet high) as quickly as they can. Those competitions should be fast and exciting.
Bouldering is when the athletes move across difficult routes of artificial rocks on lower walls. Lead climbing is when athletes see how high they can climb on a super-difficult course in six minutes.
Don’t worry, all the climbers will wear safety gear to keep them from falling.
Baseball and softball are familiar to American sports fans. Some of the players on the United States Olympic baseball team may look familiar. The team is made up mostly of minor leaguers and former major league players.
Edwin Jackson is one of the team’s pitchers. If he sounds familiar that’s because the 37-year-old Jackson pitched for 14 (!) teams, including the Washington Nationals (2012 and 2017) during his 17-year major league career.
Finally, there will be new events in several familiar sports. Men and women will compete together in certain swimming and track relays as well as in a mixed archery competition.
The Summer Olympics are always exciting, but this year they will be a little different.