Rob Wood

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Entries Tagged as 'Olympic Games'

No Chop for Karate

May 21st, 2021 · Comments Off on No Chop for Karate · Olympic Games, Sport

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.

karate chop

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.

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Olympic Surfing

May 13th, 2021 · Comments Off on Olympic Surfing · Olympic Games, Sport

Virtual Surfing

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.

Olympic Surfing

Actual Surfing

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.

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Street Basketball Comes To The Olympics

April 30th, 2021 · Comments Off on Street Basketball Comes To The Olympics · Basketball, Olympic Games

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.

street basketball game

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.

Schedule

  • 24-27 July pool games
  • 27 July quarter-finals
  • 28 July semi-finals
  • 29 July bronze medal game, gold medal game

Related Pages on Topend Sports

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Sports Climbing – A New Olympic Sport?

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.

sport climbing

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.

  1. 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
  2. Bouldering – the competitors attempt to scale fixed routes of varying difficulty on a 4.5m wall in a set time.
  3. 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.

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Rio Medal Predictions Change Over Time

May 18th, 2016 · No Comments · Olympic Games

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.

There are plenty of people making predictions about the upcoming Rio Olympics. There are two main categories of medal count predictions. One way to predict the final medal tally is from scholars using economics and a range of factors to base their predictions. The other is to use actual competition results leading up to the Olympics to predict the specific winners of each event. After the London Games, I compared some of these predictions to the final medal count, and predictions using both of these methods were quite accurate.

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.

predicted gold

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.

predicted total

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.

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10 Great Olympians You Probably Have Never Heard Of

May 12th, 2016 · No Comments · Olympic Games

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

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

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. He won eight individual gold medals in track and field events.

Ray Ewry

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

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

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).

Aladar Gerevich

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

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

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

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

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.

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The Olympics and the Seasons

January 9th, 2015 · No Comments · Olympic Games

On Topend Sports there is a list of Olympic Games Firsts, which inspired a reader, Hank Wisniewski of Austin, Texas, U.S.A., to send me a personal message with some very interesting information I just had to share with you.

He pointed out that the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will be the first to take place entirely in winter (to be held from 5 Aug 2016 to 21 Aug 2016).  A wintertime Summer Olympics is only ever going to be held in the southern hemisphere. The two other southern hemisphere Olympic Games, in Melbourne and Sydney, were held in spring and summer (local time). The 2000 Summer Games in Sydney was held completely during spring (15 September 2000 to 1 October 2000), and the Melbourne Summer Olympics were held over spring and summer (22 Nov 1956 to 8 Dec 1956).

Hank went on with more details about the timing of both the Winter and Summer Olympics.

Here is the rest of his message …

I thought it might be interesting to point out which Summer Olympics took place farthest from the equator and which Winter Olympics were closest to the equator, but after I started organizing the data I realized that since the Olympics have been held at various times of the year, the fact that the sun’s position covers almost 47 degrees of latitude from solstice to solstice makes those other facts irrelevant.  However, following my original thought, I found a web page that calculates the sun’s latitude for any day of the year, and for each Olympics I subtracted from the city’s latitude the sun’s latitude on the date directly between the opening and closing ceremonies.  To my surprise, when I sorted my list according to those angles, there was no overlap between Summer Olympics and Winter Olympics, even though the difference between the lowest sun peak in a Summer Olympics and the highest sun peak in a Winter Olympics is only 3.7 degrees!

The top five Summer Olympics held when and where the sun’s latitude was farthest from the host city’s latitude are…

  1. 1964, Tokyo, Japan (46.0°)
  2. 1972, Munich, West Germany (40.8°)
  3. 1952, Helsinki, Finland (40.8°)
  4. 1988, Seoul, South Korea (39.0°)
  5. 1912, Stockholm, Sweden (37.7°)

The top five Winter Olympics held when and where the sun’s latitude was/will be closest to the host city’s latitude are…

  1. 1960, Squaw Valley, United States (49.7°)
  2. 2018, PyeongChang, South Korea (50.0°)
  3. 1998, Nagano, Japan (50.3°)
  4. 2002, Salt Lake City, United States (53.7°)
  5. 1980, Lake Placid, United States (56.6°)

Winter Olympic Games cauldron in Vancouver, Canada

The Winter Olympic Games cauldron in Vancouver, Canada

While I’m at it, here are the extremes:

The Top Five Summer Olympics When & Where the Sun’s Latitude Was/Will Be Closest to the Host City’s Latitude:

  1. 1996, Atlanta, United States (14.6°)
  2. 1956, Melbourne, Australia (15.8°)
  3. 1984, Los Angeles, United States (16.9°)
  4. 1932, Los Angeles, United States (17.5°)
  5. 2020, Tokyo, Japan (17.8°)

The Top Five Winter Olympics When & Where the Sun’s Latitude Was Farthest from the Host City’s Latitude:

  1. 1994, Lillehammer, Norway (73.1°)
  2. 1952, Oslo, Norway (71.9°)
  3. 1956, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy (64.3°)
  4. 1964, Innsbruck, Austria (64.2°)
  5. 1924, Chamonix, France (64.0°)

By the way, the first Olympics to be held within the tropics were the 1968 Summer Games in Mexico City. The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio will be the second time!

Hank has also provided me with the time zones for every Winter and Summer Olympics.

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Rio Olympic Games Mascot Announced

December 1st, 2014 · No Comments · Olympic Games

The Olympic Games mascot for Rio 2016 has recently been announced, a yet unnamed yellow creature. It is supposed to represent all the animals of Brazil. (There is another one, for the Paralympics, which represents all the plants of Brazil). I can definitely see a cat and monkey in there, though I’m not sure what other animals it incorporates. Blue hands, green tail?

Unlike in recent times, the public was not consulted to choose the mascot, which is a good thing as the general population are not the experts in marketing, and the aim of creating a mascot is clearly stated as being to make lots of money on merchandise! The general population still do have a say – they can help pick the names. There is a shortlist of three choices, Oba and Eba; Tiba Tuque and Esquindim; and Vinicius and Tom. My vote is for Oba and Eda. I have no idea of the meanings of each of the names, Oba and Eda just sound the coolest.

rio olympic mascot
my selfie with the Rio Olympic Games mascot

On the official Rio website, you can go and make your own selfie with the mascot (like I did), and also cast your vote for the mascot names.

I’m glad there is just one mascot for the Olympic Games, as it was for London. When I saw that there were five mascots for Beijing in 2004, all I could think of was that they had trouble picking the best one to use. Sydney also struggled to make a decision and had three mascots. Using a single mascot that represents an animal from the host country is what has been traditionally used. You can see our list of previous Olympic Games mascots.

What do you think of the mascot?

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Unusual Ways To Carry The Olympic Games Torch

July 29th, 2013 · No Comments · Olympic Games

Each Olympic Games torch relay begins with a torch being lit by the sun’s rays at the ancient site of Olympia, after which it is passed by torch from person to person all the way to the Olympic stadium in the host city. The torch relay tradition started in 1936 and this is one of the few times where just runners have carried it all of the way (it also happened in 1948 and 1980).

torch-beijing

Recent Olympic torch relays have been a competition to see which host can have the most bizarre transport method. I have come up with a  large list of alternative transport types for the torch. Some of the more unusual transportation types include space ships and along a zip wire. In 1976 the flame was sent by radio signal between Greece and Canada and in 2000 it went underwater at the Great Barrier Reef. For the Sochi Olympic Games, the Russians are taking it into space again. It will be interesting to see where else it goes, and also what the Rio organisers can come up with. Any suggestions?

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Review of the Dirtiest Race in History

March 25th, 2013 · No Comments · Olympic Games, Sports Medicine, Track & Field

Book: The Dirtiest Race in HistoryThe title of this book (The Dirtiest Race in History, By Richard Moore) refers to the 1988 Olympic Games 100 m sprint final (see a video of the race). This was perhaps the most thrilling sprint in Olympic history, but within 48 hours the gold medalist Ben Johnson had tested positive for anabolic steroids and the scandal and stories had begun. However, the full story did not begin with this race, but many years earlier.

The book follows the development of the two main combatants, Carl Lewis and Ben Johnson, from when they started sprinting; building a deep rivalry between them that fascinated the athletics world, culminating in the infamous race referred to in the title. The author Richard Moore was able to interview Johnson who gave some interesting insights into that period, but unfortunately Lewis was not available.

In the concluding pages of this book, we are given details of each of the competitors in this infamous race. It may be no surprise that ultimately most of them were tainted by drugs at some point in their career, possibly this is the message the book is trying to make. This may be the story about Ben and Carl, but it also defines the period in athletics history where drug use was widespread, and the fledgling anti-doping program had only started the game of catch-up.

More Info

  • The Dirtiest Race in History by Richard Moore.
  • Inside Track: My Professional Life in Amateur Track and Field, by Carl Lewis and Jeffrey Marx.
  • Speed Trap: The Inside Story of Ben Johnson and the Biggest Scandal in Olympic History, by Charlie Francis and Jeff Coplan.

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