Exactly 365 days from now, the first set of medals will be handed out at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. As is the case every two years (including the Winter Olympics), the United States of America will try and prove that it has the best set of athletes in the world.
Tokyo 2020 should be a unique, historical event from a couple of different angles. Japanese citizens have the rare opportunity to contribute to the medal-making process by recycling old electronic devices. There will be roughly 5,000 medals handed out over the two-week window next summer.
In addition, robots will serve as guides in Tokyo this time next year. Don’t be shocked if and when you see automatons assisting fans from around the world and Olympic employees with various tasks. This includes guiding guests to seats, delivering food, and even helping workers pick up trash.
However, the biggest thing to look out for next July is the addition of five new sports to the Olympics. Let’s take a look…
Baseball/softball: This isn’t totally “new,” but baseball and softball will be making its return to the Olympics after being voted off following the 2008 Beijing Games. Reports indicate that MLB players will not take part (we saw what happened to the hockey side of things without NHLers last winter), but it’ll still be cool to get these sports back in the rotation. I attended a few games at the World Baseball Classic back in 2013 down in Miami. Tremendous atmosphere. As for softball, this is a very underrated sport in high-pressure moments. The Women’s College World Series has provided unreal drama each of the last couple of years.
Karate: Wax on, wax off. Sweep the leg. No mercy. If we are being honest, all I’m hoping for here is a similar vibe to the 1984 All-Valley Karate Championships. Give me Miyagi-Do Karate in one corner (USA) and Cobra Kai (The Field) in the other. Maybe we can convince old Daniel LaRusso to come out of retirement for this one. (Seriously though, give the new Cobra Kai series a try on YouTube. Quality watch with a ton of nostalgic moments.)
Skateboarding: Shaun White has his eyes set on participating in some of these events. I’d say that’s a half-decent start towards making this new Olympic sport relevant (getting the squad from Rocket Power to show up wouldn’t hurt either). There will be both street and park events taking place in Tokyo next summer.
Sport climbing: I am very excited for this one. Anyone who went to sleepaway camp growing up remembers the rush of being attached to a harness, wearing a smelly helmet, and gliding your way up a rock climbing wall. Well, now that is an Olympic sport. According to the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC), more than 140 countries worldwide have climbing walls, totaling 35 million climbers across the globe. Must-see television here, folks.
Surfing: The world’s greatest surfers will have the chance to shred the gnar (I’ll see myself out) next summer for the first time at the Olympics. The best part is, they’ll be riding the waves at a place called “Shidashita Beach” with a gold medal on the line. What a name.
There are also a handful of new events set to take place. 3×3 basketball will be just like pickup ball with your friends, except you’re representing your country on the world’s biggest stage. Swimming/Track and Field: Mixed-Gender Relays will be awesome as well. Obviously, this can’t happen in Olympic competition, but seeing something like Serena Williams and Andy Murray team up at Wimbledon was a very cool sight. Looking forward to seeing the USA craft up super teams in each of these sports.
Remember the emptiness you’re feeling when reading this. All we’ve got right now is mid-season baseball. But this time next year, as shown above, there will be *plenty* more sports to choose from.