July 24th, 2021 · Comments Off on Drop In and Check Out Skateboarding at the Olympics · Olympic Games, Sport
One of the new sports at the Olympics is skateboarding. The Olympics are clearly looking to make the Olympics more appealing to the younger generation, with the addition of sports such as surfing, and sports climbing and 3×3 basketball. The skateboarding event is another.
The Olympics has not seen a sport like skateboarding, though it has been a regular event at the X Games, and has recently made an appearance at the Asian Games.
At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics there are two events in skateboarding, street and park, for men and women.
Park Skateboarding Event
In the park skateboarding event, skaters perform tricks on a course called a “combination pool,” which is like a familiar skate park containing bowls and pools in a complex combination with ramps and course bends. The smooth bowls have steep curved inclines meaning skaters can achieve massive height and have the freedom to put together a run as they see fit. The competitors perform three 45-second runs, and their best counts as their final round score. Some factors in working out the scores are: degree of difficulty of tricks, height, speed, originality, execution, and the overall routine.
In street skateboarding, the skaters perform tricks on a street-like course with stairs, handrails, curbs, benches, walls, and slopes. They are free to choose whatever route they want around the course. In each round, the skaters will perform two 45-second runs and five tricks. The competitors are scored for the difficulty and the originality of their tricks.
Check it out
Day 2: Sunday 25 July 2021 – Men’s street Prelims Heats/Final Day 3: Monday 26 July 2021 – Women’s street Prelims Heats/Final
Day 12: Wednesday 4 August 2021 – Women’s park Prelims Heats/Final Day 13: Thursday 5 August 2021 – Men’s park Prelims Heats/Final
Karate is a new sport on the Olympic program, making its debut at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games along with four other new sports. It is no surprise that this Japanese sport has been able to slip into the Olympics in Tokyo, but its time on the program may be short-lived.
Karate is a martial art originally from Japan, which involves punching, kicking, knee strikes, elbow strikes, and some open-hand techniques like knife-hands, spear-hands, and palm-heel strikes.
For some, karate may seem similar to the Korean martial art of taekwondo, which is also on the Olympic program. There seems to be a high number of combat sports on the Olympic program: karate joins boxing, Judo, taekwondo, fencing and wrestling. For fans of martial arts, and there are lots of them around the world, that may not be a problem.
What it involves
There are two karate competitions at the 2021 Olympic Games, kumite and kata. There will be eight gold medals up for grabs: six in kumite and two for kata. There will be sixty competitors competing in the kumite competition, and twenty in the kata competition.
In a kumite match, two athletes face each other with small gloves and foot protection, with the goal of scoring points using kicks, punches, strikes, throws and sweeps over a three minutes period. There are three weight classes (men: <67 kg, −75 kg, +75 kg, women: <55 kg, −61 kg, +61 kg). The winner is the first to score eight points more than their opponent, or the fighter with the most points at the end. In the matter of a tie, the contestant that scored the first unopposed point wins. Don’t expect lots of hits, it is not a full-contact sport, the competitors show full self-control in each technique enabling them to stop the motion suddenly only millimetres before coming into contact.
The competitors in each weight category will advance through an elimination round to reach the semi-final, and eventually the gold medal bout.
In the kata competition, competitors are judged on the power and correctness of their techniques. Competitors take turns in demonstrating his or her kata. The result is judged by a panel of judges, each awarding a score based on technical and athletic performance. The two highest and lowest scores are discarded to determine the winner.
Where to see it
The karate competition will be held at the Nippon Budokan on August 5-7, 2021. The indoor venue located in Tokyo’s Kitanomaru Park hosted judo events at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
Make sure you have a look as karate might not be appearing at the Olympics again. The sport has not been included on the program for the 2024 Paris Olympics. It looks like it is literally getting the karate chop.
With no international spectators at this year’s Olympic Games in Japan, there will be lots of online internet surfing to watch the sporting events and get results. Some sports are even being held online, with an esports demonstration event sanctioned by the IOC, called the Olympic Virtual Series (OVS). The event will involve five sports – baseball, cycling, rowing, sailing and motorsport. It will be an online mass participation event aimed to generate excitement in the build-up to the Olympics. It will take place from 13th May to 23 June 2021, and is available for viewing on the Olympic channel.
Yes, there will be actual surfing at the Olympics! For the first time, the sport of surfing will be part of the Olympics. Another new Olympic sport skateboarding was created by surfers, so it seems only right to have surfing in the Olympics too. These new sports are in line with the IOC drive to appeal to the younger generation.
Who is involved?
The Surfing competition at Tokyo 2020 will feature 20 men and 20 women. Of the 40 places available, 18 are reserved for WSL Championship Tour (CT) surfers (10 men and 8 women), with the remaining 22 places determined at the 2019 and 2020 ISA World Surfing Games, the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, and a single slot (each for men and women) for the host nation.
Where to See It
The surfing competition will take place on natural waves at Shidashita Beach, or “Shida”, 64km from Tokyo on the Chiba peninsula, and about 100km away from the Olympic Stadium. There is no set date for the competition, as the program includes a waiting period of 16 days so they can wait for adequate quality waves. Once the event starts, it will take two days to finish.
Four to five surfers will compete in heats lasting 20-25 minutes, though only one rider may ride a wave at any given time. Later rounds the surfers will go head-to-head, one-on-one. The surfers will be judged by a panel of judges, scoring each wave ride on a scale between 1 to 10. They will be judging each manoeuvre on speed, power, and flow, and the degree of difficulty of each manoeuvre will also be factored into it. Their top two scores will be used to determine the best two surfers from each heat who will continue to the next round.
It is sure to be exciting with most of the world’s top surfers attending. Make sure you tune in or surf the web to see history in the making.
The Olympics are looking for some street cred. The addition of sports such as skateboarding, surfing, and sports climbing is clearly an attempt to make the Olympics more appealing to the younger generation. The basketball event of 3×3 basketball is another. Without needing to go through the voting process of applying to get a new sport included, basketball has just added another event for Tokyo 2020 and doubled the number of medals available in their sport.
Basketball has been played at the Olympic Games since 1936 in Berlin, though there was a demonstration of basketball in St. Louis in 1904, and again in Paris in 1924. Major milestones in the history of Olympic basketball are the addition of a women’s basketball tournament in 1976, allowing professional players and the original US dream team in 1992, and now the addition of this new exciting version of basketball for men and women.
3×3 basketball (also called streetball or street basketball) is a variation of basketball that is played widely all around the world. The 3×3 form of the game is played with two teams of three players (plus one sub), on half a standard court and with just one hoop. The rules are essentially the same as for full-court basketball, the biggest change is in the scoring. Every successful shot from inside the arc of the court is given a point, from outside the arc is worth two points. The first team to score 21 points, or the team with the most points after 10 minutes, wins. If the score is tied after 10 minutes, the game goes into overtime with the first team to score two points is declared the winner. There are just 12 seconds on the shot clock, and play does not stop after a successful shot, making for fast-paced exciting games that will undoubtedly be a popular addition to the Tokyo Games.
Check it out
At Tokyo 2020 there will be an 8-team tournament, for men and women. All games will be held at the Aomi Urban Sports Park. Pool games will be followed by the quarter-finals, semi-finals then a bronze medal and gold medal game.
March 23rd, 2021 · Comments Off on Sports Climbing – A New Olympic Sport? · Olympic Games
There are 33 sports on the program for the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games – with five of them new to the Olympics. With the Tokyo Games fast approaching, it is time to get up to speed with these new sports. The first I will be featuring is sport climbing. You might be familiar with outdoor rock climbing, however, the Olympic “sport climbing” event is a little different, being performed indoors on an artificial climbing wall, but requiring much the same skills.
Is it really the first time climbing has been at the Olympics?
After lobbying for inclusion into the Olympic Games for many years, sport climbing was finally accepted onto the program for 2020. But it is not really the first time that climbing has been part of the Olympics. In the early years of the Olympics, there was another climbing event as part of the gymnastics program – rope climbing. In this event, the competitors climbed a suspended vertical rope as fast as possible using only their hands. It was not just a one-off event either, rope climbing was part of the official Olympic program in 1896, 1904, 1906, 1924 and 1932.
There have been more Olympic climbing, though not as a medal event. Back in 1924, there was a mountain climbing prize. There was no actual competition, the Olympic “Alpinism Prize” was awarded for the most notable alpinism feat accomplished during the previous four years. And probably best forgotten, is the pole climbing competition that was part of the racist 1904 Anthropology Days, where men from indigenous populations competed in various events so that anthropologists could see how they compared to the white man.
So really, it is not the first time climbing has been part of the Olympics, but it is the first time in this current competitive format.
What Does Sport Climbing Involve?
The sport climbing event that will make its debut in Tokyo requires great feats of strength, speed and flexibility and a lot of skill. It will be exciting to watch. Climbers use a range of hand and footholds of different shapes and sizes to scale a vertical wall. The wall can feature both positive and negative angles. The competitors must climb using only their bare hands and climbing shoes, though in some disciplines safety gear may be worn.
The climbing competition at the Olympics is divided into three disciplines – lead climbing, speed climbing, and bouldering.
Speed climbing – two athletes race up a 15-meter wall side-by-side on an identical course. The first to the top wins and progresses to the next round
Bouldering – the competitors attempt to scale fixed routes of varying difficulty on a 4.5m wall in a set time.
Lead Climbing – how high a climber can go in six minutes?
There is one gold medal for male and females up for grabs. The final rankings are determined by multiplying the place in each of the three disciplines, with the athlete with the lowest score winning.
The sport climbing event will be held from Aug 2-5 at the Aomi Urban Sports Park, a temporary venue in the waterfront Aomi district. Make sure you tune in to see history being made.
I hope that you are staying safe and healthy. Where I live we are slowly getting back to pre-COVID normality, and I hope you are too. For many of us, sport is back on, and the chance to go and see your teams live is hopefully not too far away.
What sporting events are you most looking forward to? Our major events world calendar has taken a beating, many of the events since April 2020 have been cancelled or postponed. We have tried to keep up but plans have been changing regularly. The major postponement was the 2020 Olympic Games, which was due to begin on July 24 this year, but is now due to start nearly a year later (hopefully!)
There are Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, so why not a sporting version? Have you ever considered what might be the best Sporting World Wonders – the stadiums, events and athletes that epitomise what we love about sport?
There already is a sporting wonder!
On the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, one of the wonders had a sporting link, the Statue of Zeus. The ancient Olympic Games were held in honor of their King of gods, Zeus. In the ancient Greek city of Olympia, sculptor Pheidias carved the enormous statue of Zeus, in the 5th century B.C. It was made of gold and ivory and was reputed to be 40 ft high.
And another one added!
A New Seven Wonders of the World was created in 2007, and that new list included another sporting wonder, the Colosseum in Rome. This arena, built in 80 AD, was one of the first great classic stadiums and is considered the father of all modern sporting stadiums. The arena was primarily a stage for combat, which is not unlike the sporting events of today.
We have created a few wonder lists of our own, for venues, events and athletes. As with the previous 7 Wonder lists, the items are listed in no particular order.
Seven Wonders of the Sporting World (Athletes)
Here are my top 7 athletes of all time. A wonder must dominate in their chosen sport, be a great athlete, a good role model for the sport, and have worldwide appeal so that their profile is known outside of their sporting circles. I think the off-court behaviour is very important when assessing our greatest athletes, though sometimes the performances are so overwhelmingly great it is hard to leave them off (e.g. Tiger Woods and Serena Williams).
Although both males and females were considered for the Athlete list of 7 Wonders, the only female that was close to making the top-7 was Serena Williams. Rather than trying to compare the males and females directly, I also created a female-only 7-Wonders list as the best way to highlight the best of women’s sport.
Babe Didrikson Zaharias (golf, track & field)
Jackie Joyner-Kersee (track & field)
Serena Williams (tennis)
Annika Sorenstam (golf)
Martina Navratilova (tennis)
Mia Hamm (football/soccer)
Fanny Blankers-Koen (track & field)
Seven Wonders of the Sporting World (Events)
Here are the top 7 sporting events from around the world. These events are the mecca of elite world sport, the must-see events of every sports fan.
FIFA World Cup
Summer Olympic Games
Tour de France
NFL Super Bowl
Monaco Grand Prix
Baseball World Series
As with the athlete list, I created a female sporting events list to highlight the best of women’s sport from around the world. These events are the mecca of elite women’s world sport, the must-see events for all sports fans.
FIFA Women’s World Cup final
Women’s Singles Final at Wimbledon
Netball World Cup final
Women’s Rugby World Cup final
Gymnastics at the Olympic Games
Women’s Cricket Twenty20 World Cup final
Seven Wonders of the Sporting World (Venues)
Here are the top 7 sporting stadiums from around the world. These are iconic and ‘the’ place to watch the chosen sport. They are unique, architecturally striking and stand out in the world of sport.
St Andrews Old Course
Melbourne Cricket Ground
You Don’t Agree?
These are just my personal opinions, some food for thought, and I don’t expect to be able to please everyone. I main hope is that these events continue as usual, and we can all go out and enjoy them.
The FIFA Football World Cup in Russia is coming to its conclusion in a couple of days with the final between France and Croatia. Many of the top teams have been surprisingly knocked out early or not even making the tournament. It is challenging predicting which team will be successful, with none of the top three teams who were predicted to win making the final. What makes a team successful? There is no one factor which determines success; factors such as player skill, speed, agility, game experience, teamwork, coaching, fatigue level and mental focus are just some of the elements. Another factor, body size, may have only a minor effect, but an effect nonetheless.
Prior to the tournament, FIFA released the anthropometric data of the 736 players (squads of 23 from the 32 nations), which gave us the opportunity to compare the body size of players from each team and playing position. We found that out of all the teams, the goalkeepers at the 2018 FIFA World Cup stood out – they tended to be older, taller and heavier than the field players. The youngest players were the forwards, the shortest the midfielders, and the leanest based on BMI were the midfielders. Now that the two teams that are to battle out the final on Sunday are known, we have pulled out their team data and had a look at how they match up.
We compared the body size data of the French and Croatian 23-man squads. The Croatians are on average older (27.9 v 26.0 years), a couple of centimetres (an inch) taller (185.3 v 183.3), but of similar average weight (79.3 v 80.0kg). If we just compare the expected starting 11 players (based on their semi-final match), the age difference is even greater (29.5 v 26.2 years). For both teams, the average weight of the players in the starting 11 is lower than the full squad average (Croatia 79.3 to 77.6kg, France 80.0 to 78.9kg), indicating the top players are leaner. The lower weight was not just because they are shorter, as the Body Mass Index was lower too (Croatia 23.1 to 22.8, France 23.8 to 23.5).
The two goalkeepers expected to play in the final are Danijel Subasic of Croatia and Hugo Lloris of France. The Croatian has a couple of years more experience (aged 33.7 versus 31.5 years), and also has an advantage in size: he is taller (191 v 188cm) and heavier (84 v 82 kg).
Of the starting four defenders, the noteworthy difference is their age. The Croatians are on average more than five years older (28.9 v 23.6 years). If this age difference translates to greater maturity and experience on the field, then they have a distinct advantage.
Comparing the midfielders, the French players are on average quite a bit heavier (76.7 v 70.7 kg) despite being of very similar height. At this level, we don’t expect players to be carrying much excess body fat, so the difference in weight would be mostly due to them being more solidly built, having more muscle and therefore being stronger. If this World Cup final becomes a physical encounter, the French midfield players are going to have a big advantage.
The Croatian forwards are also a couple of inches taller than their French counterparts (187.0 v 181.7cm), which may be an advantage around the goals, particularly for corners and other set pieces.
When it comes to the physical attributes of the two teams, in most cases it has been the Croatian team that has the advantage. Of course, body size is not the most important factor for successful performance in football, though, if all other things are equal then it may be the difference that could win a World Cup for Croatia. However, it may just come down to luck, particularly if it finishes with a penalty shootout.
The year 1966 is a very significant one for me as it is the year I was born. A lot has changed in the world of sports since then, when I think about the sports I followed growing up and the athletes who have come and gone.
In most parts, sport in 1966 was played without the hype and celebrity mania of today’s elite sport. One exception of the day was Muhammad Ali, who only passed away very recently. Ali was at the peak of his career in 1966, both in his boxing and public life. He defended his title five times, though shortly after he was in the midst of controversy for refusing to be inducted into the armed forces to fight in the Vietnam War. Up until that time he was the undefeated and undisputed heavyweight champion, however, he would not fight again until 1970.
One of the major events of the year was the FIFA World Cup tournament, one that will particularly live on in the memories of the English fans. In a hotly contested final, the host country England won their first and only World Cup title by defeating West Germany 4-2 after extra time. As time ran out, the sealer was struck to the famous words by BBC commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme “Some people are on the pitch. They think it’s all over. It is now!”
The year saw the emergence of a young American women’s tennis star Billie Jean King who won her first grand slam title. It was the start of a career that would finish with a total of 12 grand slam titles. Margaret Court won the Australian Open for the seventh straight time, a feat that has not been achieved by any other man or woman. Both of these women would years later be famously involved in the battle of the sexes matches against Bobby Riggs.
Golfing legend Jack Nicklaus successfully defended his Masters Tournament title, which was also his third win at the event. He also won The Open Championship for the first time in his career and his sixth major title. With these wins, he became the fourth player to win all four major professional championships. Considering his lifetime achievements in which he would win 18 majors, the last one in 1986, this was just the beginning for The Golden Bear.
Jack Brabham won the F1 driver’s championship for the third and last time, one of 10 drivers who has achieved this feat in the history of the event. He is the only driver to win a championship in a car of his own team.
This is just a sample of the highlights from 1966. On our sports timeline, you can read more details of the sporting results from 1966.
Wouldn’t it be great to know the results before the Olympic Games start? For the London Olympics in 2012 I made a prediction for the final medal tally. It was mostly based on my own guesswork, and surprisingly was not too far wrong in the end. For the Rio Games, I predict that the USA will again win the most medals, a pretty safe bet, but not based on any specialist knowledge or special formula. However, I prefer to rely on those a little more knowledgeable to predict the results.
It seems more logical to base the predictions on actual sports results, and we would assume that the most recent results would be the best indicators. The company Gracenote (was Infostrada) sports regularly update their predictions based on sporting results from around the world. The graphs below show how their predictions have changed over the last year for the top three countries. While the predictions of the actual number of medals has varied, the order has not changed – the USA is predicted to win both the most medals and most golds.
The most recent medal predictions, made with 100 days to go, show the USA pulling away from China and Russia on the table above. A factor that has not been considered is that Russian athletes may still be banned from attending the Games, which would put a large dent in their medal count.
I will continue to monitor the changes in these predictions leading up to the Games, and afterwards, I will again compare these predictions to the actual results. So far I am feeling pretty confident about my prediction of the USA leading the medal count, it will be a big upset if they don’t.
With the Olympics just on the horizon, we’ll be hearing and talking a lot about some current great Olympic athletes such as Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt, and even past greats such as Jesse Owens, Nadia Comaneci and Mark Spitz. These popular names are only a small sample of great athletes who have graced the Olympic stage since the inaugural Games over 100 years ago. Listed below are 10 Olympians who I believe have had amazing Olympic careers and deserve greater recognition for their achievements. Have you heard of any of these athletes?
Elisabeta Lipă is a former Romanian rowing athlete who had a spectacular Olympic career. She is currently the most accomplished rower in the history of the Olympics with five gold medals, two silver medals and one bronze medal. She competed in six straight Olympics from 1984 to 2004 and won a gold medal in every Olympics except 1988 where she picked up a silver and bronze.
Carl Schuhmann was a multi-sport German athlete who contested in the Olympics and won medals in Gymnastics and Wrestling. He was the most successful athlete in the inaugural modern Olympics held in 1896. He won three gold medals in gymnastics and one gold medal in wrestling. He also contested in weightlifting and finished fourth.
Ray Ewry is one of the most successful athletes of all-time in the Olympics. The American won a total of eight individual gold medals in track and field events which stood as a record for 100 years until it was broken by compatriot Michael Phelps in 2008. His record still holds good for the most individual gold medals won by any athlete in track and field.
Birgit Fischer is a former canoe athlete who holds the distinct record of being the youngest and the oldest athlete ever to win a canoeing gold medal. The German has won a record eight gold medals and four silver medals in a career that spanned seven Olympic Games from 1980 to 2004.
Larisa Latynina is an ex-Soviet Union gymnast who contested in three Olympics from 1956 to 1964. She has won a total of 18 medals, 14 individual and four team. Her 14 individual medals still stand as the record for the most number of individual medals any athlete has ever won in the Olympics. Her 18 total medals stood as a record for 48 years before it was surpassed in 2012 (by Phelps).
Aladár Gerevich was a Hungarian fencing athlete who had an extremely successful outing at the Olympics. Regarded as the greatest fencer of all-time, Aladár contested seven games from 1932 to 1960 and won seven gold medals, one silver medal and two bronze medals. The 28 year span between his first and last gold medal remained as the longest successful Olympic run be anyone until it was tied in 2012.
Edoardo Mangiarotti was a fencer who has had the most success in the history of Olympic fencing. The Italian participated in the Games from 1936 – 1960 and won six gold, five silver and two bronze medals. His total of 13 medals to this date remains as the highest number of medals won by any athlete in fencing.
Reiner Klimke was an equestrian athlete from Germany who contested in Olympic dressage competition. He still holds the record for the most number of Olympic appearances by any equestrian athlete at six. In his Olympic span between 1960-1988, he won six gold medals, one in each of his appearances, and two bronze medals.
Gert Fredriksson was a Swedish canoe athlete who to date is one of the most successful men in the history of Olympic canoeing, and the highest individual medal winner from Sweden. Gert won a total of six gold medals, one silver and one bronze in four Olympics from 1948 to 1960.
Sawao Kato is a former Japanese gymnast who is one of the most successful athletes in the history of the Olympics. He contested in three Olympics between 1968 and 1976 and won 12 total medals, which includes eight gold medals, one of the few athletes to have won eight or more gold medals at the Olympics.