TOKYO (KETK) – With the 2020 summer Olympics in Tokyo exactly one year away, the countdown is officially on until the opening ceremonies begin.
For each Olympics, sports can be added or taken away. Next year, five sports will be either making their debut or returning to the Summer Games.
Despite the immense popularity of baseball in the Americas as well as Japan and South Korea, the game will make its first appearance since the 2008 Games in Beijing. It will be a six-team tournament that will take place from July 29 to August 8.
Cuba holds the most gold medals, taking home 1st place three times (1992, 1996, 2004). The U.S. won gold once back in the 2000 Sydney Games.
Softball will also return to the Summer Games lineup after being left out of the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.
The United States has dominated the sport, winning gold in 1996, 2000, and 2004. They lost to Japan in the Gold Medal match in 2008.
It will also be a six-team tournament. Japan and the U.S. have already qualified. There are four spots left with one coming from Africa, one from Asia, and two from the Americas.
It will shock some people to learn that karate is making its Olympic debut in 2020, especially since judo, boxing, and tae kwon do have been in the Olympics for decades.
Two disciples of karate will be featured in Tokyo known as Kata and Kumite.
Kumite is the sparring discipline while Kata is the form discipline. Each will have three weight classes for men and women, instead of the usual five used by the World Karate Association.
This sport will be one of the riskiest competitions in the Games next year, in more ways than 1.
The first being the dangers of marine life interfering. Olympic officials announced that the event would be hosted in the ocean at a beach 40 miles outside of Tokyo, instead of at a wave pool.
The coastline of Japan is home to a variety of sharks, however attacks are very rare.
The second risk is because the competition will be in the ocean, the event is heavily dependent on Mother Nature. Surfers will have a 16-day waiting period to be sure that conditions are ripe for surfing.
Once the event begins, it will take roughly two days to complete.
In a sign that the millennial generation is all grown up, the Olympics will host its first-ever skate-boarding event.
There will be two discipline in the 2020 Games, Park and Street.
In Park, competitors will skate along a series of ramps, including, half pipes, bowls and quarter pipes. Points are awarded based on speed and difficulty of jumps.
The Street discipline involves creating courses with obstacles that are found naturally in an urban environment. These include handrails, benches, stair sets, and boxes.
This is a discipline of rock climbing where three different formats will be used: bouldering, lead climbing, and speed climbing.
Bouldering is more technical where athletes free climb up short sections of rock without the use of ropes. You win by achieving the set challenge in the shortest number of attempts while being timed.
Lead climbing is where climbers ascend up a wall while attached to a rope. Athletes earn a medal by climbing to the top in the fastest time or by reaching a higher point than their opponents.
Speed climbing is a head-to-head, knockout format where competitors attempt to rise a 15-meter wall faster than their opponent.