Skateboarding, surfing and other sports debut at Tokyo Olympics

CBC Kids News • Published 2021-07-02 08:04

Canada is represented in 3 of the 4 new Olympic sports


The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are fast approaching, and besides all the normal excitement that comes with the Summer Games, there are four specific reasons to be extra excited this year.

Karate, skateboarding, surfing and sport climbing are making their Olympic debut this summer.

But how exactly does a new sport get added to the Olympic Games?

To start, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) requires any sport included in the Olympics to have an international federation.

As is often the case, that international federation will petition the IOC to have their sport included in the Olympics.

The petition includes information on how the sport meets IOC requirements, as well as a lengthy questionnaire the international federation must fill out.

Another way is for the local organizing committee to push for sports that are popular in their country to be included.

This process was formalized in 2014, and is seen as a way to make the Olympics more desirable for countries to host.

Adding new sports is also a way to keep younger fans interested in following the Olympics.

Let’s take a look at the four new sports making their debut in Tokyo.

a sport climber hangs off of an indoor climbing wall

Canadian climber Sean McColl has won major competitions in all three disciplines included in the Olympic Games. (Image Credit: Toru Hanai/Getty Images)


Sport climbing


A combined format with three disciplines: speed, bouldering and lead. Final rankings are determined by combining athlete placement in the three disciplines.

Canadian to watch

Sean McColl. He has won multiple world cup events, and in 2017 took home the bronze medal at the World Championships.

Biggest competition

Tomoa Narasaki of Japan. Winner of the 2019 World Championships, Narasaki is one of the best overall sport climbers in the world.

A man flips his skateboard under his feet while in mid-air.

Canadian skateboarder Matt Berger is well known in the skateboard community for his exciting video segments. (Image credit: Tiziana Fabi/Getty Images)




Street and park are the two disciplines in Olympic skateboarding. They are judged and medals are awarded separately for each event.

Canadian to watch

Matt Berger. The top-ranked Canadian in the world rankings, Berger is competing in the street skating competition.

Biggest competition

Nyjah Huston of the U.S. A four-time world champion, he finished 2nd in the 2021 World Championships.

Two men dressed in Karate outfits spar in a match

Gaysinsky, left, started practicing karate at the age of six. (Image credit:




Karate includes kata, which is forms, or an individual performance of offensive and defensive moves, and kumite, which is a fight between two opponents. They are judged and awarded medals separately.

Canadian to watch

Daniel Gaysinsky. The 26-year-old previously won a silver medal in kumite at the 2019 Pan American Games. He is the only Canadian to qualify for the Tokyo Games.

Biggest competition

Sajjad Ganjzadeh from the Islamic Republic of Iran. Currently ranked first in the World Karate Federation, Ganjzadeh has won multiple gold medals in previous World Karate Championships.

A surfer turns quickly on the top of wave on a sunny day.

American surfer Carissa Moore, 28, has already been inducted into the Surfers’ Hall of Fame. (Image credit: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)




Athletes will catch waves on short boards, about the same height as the athlete. They will be judged on the variety of manoeuvres, degree of difficulty, power, speed and innovation.

Canadian to watch

No Canadians qualified for this event.

Biggest competition

Carissa Moore of the U.S. The 2019 WSL World Champion is a favourite to medal.

What’s next

Breakdancing will be the next new sport to watch for, at the 2024 Olympics in Paris, France.

Just like new sports can come in, sports can be removed from the Olympics as well.

This can happen if there’s reduced interest in the sport, or if there’s no longer a governing body.

TOP IMAGE CREDIT: Harry How/Getty Images, Fabrice Coffrini/Getty Images, Tiziana Fabi/Getty Images, Marvin Racinos/Getty Images

Get your class on the same page, add this to
Google Classroom

Do you like this story?