• July 24, 2021

Become an instant armchair expert in the Olympic sports of handball, skateboarding and climbing.


No longer just a hobby for messy youngsters, skateboarding has become one of the five new sports at this year’s Games (the others are baseball / softball, karate, sport climbing, and surfing).

There are two courses in the skate event: park and street. The park’s course is similar to the skate bowling found in some council areas, with curved surfaces that allow competitors to reach great heights and perform insane tricks.

At 13, Sky Brown is the youngest British Olympian. Credit:fake images

The street version is meant to look like obstacles in a real-life built area, with a series of stairs, handrails, curbs, benches, walls, and slopes. Skaters can use the surfaces to grind and slide your boards as part of your routine.

The judges award an overall score based on the degree of difficulty, height, speed, originality, execution and composition of the movements. The UK skate team will feature Britain’s youngest Olympian, 13-year-old Sky Brown.


If you’ve ever been to one of those indoor rock climbing centers, you might recognize another new event this year: climbing. The three techniques that make up the event are speed, bouldering and lead.

The sprint event features competitors running down a 15-meter wall on identical routes using preset hand and foot grips. The times will be some of the fastest sprints of the Games, with the world record of 5,208 seconds set by Veddriq Leonardo of Indonesia earlier this year.

Oceana Mackenzie jumps and grabs for a hold in sport climbing practice for the Tokyo Olympics.

Oceana Mackenzie jumps and grabs for a hold in sport climbing practice for the Tokyo Olympics. Credit:Jason South

In bouldering, athletes try to complete as many routes as they can on a 4.5 meter wall in a given period of time. The discipline requires more strategy to figure out the best way to complete the route, with some prey barely larger than the size of your fingertips.

Lead climbing consists of trying to get as high as possible in six minutes on a wall that is more than 15 meters high. It’s more of an endurance test.

Each climber will participate in all three styles in the battle for a medal.


A softer version of tennis or squash, with players using rackets to hit a shuttlecock (a floating projectile made up of a cork base lined with goose feathers) through a tall net.

That doesn’t mean that badminton isn’t fast and furious, with players whipping their rackets roughly as if they were swatting flies to employ shots and strikes.

Doubles matches can be particularly quick when players are trying to cover the court to prevent the shuttlecock from hitting the ground (like volleyball).

Watanabe Yuta reaches for the steering wheel.

Watanabe Yuta reaches for the steering wheel.Credit:Getty Imags

The scoring system works best of three games, with the first at 21 points winning the game. The serve passes to whoever wins each play and must be completed in an armpit style.

Asian countries are particularly strong in badminton, with China a major force. Japan’s local hero is Kento Momota, the men’s favorite and the first favorite. Australia’s only singles player is Hsuan-Yu Wendy Chen in the female box.


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