The Olympic sports on Wikiloc

Know which 13 sports at the Tokyo Olympic Games are available as an activity on Wikiloc

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A runner on a running outing during a reddish sunset.
Athletics, the sport with the most extensive Olympic program - Photo by @andrewussur

As of Friday, July 23rd until Sunday, August 8th, the 2020 Summer Olympic Games will be held in Tokyo. The event in Japan was postponed for a year due to the global health crisis. It will be a frenzied 16 days in which up to 46 different sports will be practiced, among which stand out the debut of 4 sports, sport climbing, skateboarding, surfing and karate as well as the return of baseball/softball.

These are the 13 Olympic sports that will be present at Tokyo 2020 and are available among the 80 activities of Wikiloc:

Athletics

Athleticism tends to be the main event at the Olympic Games. It is the sport that houses more different competitive disciplines with speed races, jumping and throwing, marathon and race walking, and combined events (men’s decathlon and women’s heptathlon). Most of the competitions will be held at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium, where an Olympic running track (a 400 m-long oval track) dazzles. Yet, there are modalities such as the marathon or the race walking that, specifically, will take place in the streets of the city of Sapporo.

The marathon is a long-distance running race (42.195 km) that has always been part of the Olympic Games since the first Olympics held in modern times, which were in Athens in 1896. The first women’s competition was in Los Angeles in 1984.

Cycling Mountain Bike

Mountain biking in its specialty XCO (Cross-Country Olympic), will be carried out on a circuit created just for the occasion, with more than four kilometers of narrow single-lane dirt trails, with intense slopes and many areas with rocky obstacles.

It is a spectacular sporting event which every cyclist will enjoy seeing the best riders pedaling through the Izu Mountain Bike Course, which has amazing views of Mount Fuji.

Having gained popularity around the globe in the 1980s and 1990s, mountain biking is the second most popular activity on Wikiloc with over 6,000,000 trails uploaded around the world.

Cycling road

Olympic event for 125 years (Athens 1896), road cycling is one of the classic sports that has been done in nearly all the modern Olympic Games. In the women’s category, it was first held in Los Angeles 1984, in an energetic race that needed to be decided by using a “photo finish”: The end of a race when the competitors are so close that photography (or other technologies such as laser sensors) must be used to verify who has reached the finish line first.

The competitions to be held in Tokyo 2020 will be a road cycling race and an individual time trial. In the road cycling race, cyclists in the men’s category will have a distance of 234 km ahead of them, whereas the women’s category will have 137 km. The individual time trial will be 44.2 km in the men’s event and 22.1 km in the women’s.

Did you know that in the early beginnings of Olympic cycling only “amateur” athletes could participate? It was not until the 1996 Atlanta Games that professional cyclists were allowed to take part in the competition.

A cyclist on a paved road, pedaling on their road bike
Road cycling will be a part of the Tokyo 2020 Games – Photo by @Jordi Bielsa

Marathon swimming

Swimming is another one of the traditional sports that has been included since the inauguration of the modern Olympics. While most of the races are held in 50-meter-long pools, the first three editions of the modern Olympic Games (Athens 1896, Paris 1900 and Saint-Louis 1904) were held in open waters. 

104 years later, open waters (seas, rivers or lakes) again took center stage in the Olympic program with the Beijing 2008 debut of marathon swimming. The open water marathon is a test of endurance with a course of 10 km. In spite of the great distance the athletes must cover swimming, it is more and more common for the race to end with a sprint to the finish line. 

The spectacular Rainbow Bridge and the Odaiba Statue of Liberty (a replica of the one found in New York) will be one of the elite onlookers of the swimming marathon in the Odaiba Maritime Park.

Swimmers entering the sea at full speed to begin a leg of open water swimming during a triathlon race
During the swimming marathon, athletes swim in open waters – Photo by @ARTUROO

Triathlon

Combining swimming, road cycling and running, the triathlon is a multisport of endurance. The Olympic distance is a 1,500-meter swim, followed by 40 km by bike and lastly a 10-km race on foot.

In addition to the individual sport which has been celebrated in the Olympic Games since Sidney 2000, this will be the first year the Olympics also include mixed relays. Each team will be made up of two men and two women, each of whom have to do a 300-meter swim, 8 km by bike and run 2 km before tapping in the next member of the team. These are swift and frenetic races that leave no time for even blinking.

Canoe slalom and canoe sprint

Either by canoe or kayak, athletes that practice canoe slalom need to paddle through currents in a whitewater channel, passing through obligatory gates, with the aim of doing it in the shortest time possible. The trajectory covers around 250 meters, which can have up to 25 gates, 6-8 of which will have to be crossed while going against the current. 

Slalom kayaking was present at the Munich 1972 Olympic Games as a demonstration sport, but it wasn’t until Barcelona 1992 that it was officially included as a competition sport in the Olympic Games. The location of those competitions were held in the Olympic Park in La Seu d’Urgell.

On the other hand, canoe sprint (also known as flatwater canoeing), is another Olympic sport that is done by canoe or kayak. The difference being that the canoers row with a single-bladed oar while kneeling, whereas kayaking is done from a sitting position with a two-bladed oar. 

The athletes in this sporting event compete against their rivals while covering distances from 200 meters to up to 1,000 meters. A proper start and achieved speed are two keys to being the first to cross the finish line. 

This speedy sport was part of the Paris 1924 Olympic Games, where it was a demonstration sport. It became an official Olympic competitive sport in Berlin 1936 (London 1948 for the women’s category).

Rowing

Rowing is an Olympic competitive sport held in open calm waters, with different categories depending on the boat and the number of rowers. In the presence of waves and strong wind, the event is called off, as was the case in the first modern Olympic Games. It finally debuted at Paris 1900 (Montreal 1976 for the women’s category).

In Tokyo 2020, there will be as many as fourteen different trials (seven for men and seven for women) where the rowers will have to go in a straight line and facing backwards for 2,000 meters across the Sea Forest Canal in the Japanese capital.

Sailing

In the sailing races, there are often true battles against nature. This is also what is forecasted for this coming edition of the Olympic Games: in the Enoshima Yacht Harbour (located in Fujisawa), the waves, the tide and the wind vary with ease. This sailing port had already been part of the Olympic Games in Tokyo 1964.

Sailing is one of the historic sports in the Olympics as it has been part of the program since Paris 1900, only except for the Olympiad in Saint Louis 1904.

Sport climbing 

Making its debut in Tokyo 2020, Olympic climbers will have to take on a combination of three different events: speed, bouldering (climbing a block) and lead (difficulty).

In the speed trial, two climbers will compete on a 15-meter wall with a 95º angle, aiming to be the fastest one to reach the top. In block climbing, they must climb as many fixed routes as they can on a 4.5-meter wall in four minutes. On the other hand, in the round of difficulty, the challenge will be to climb to the highest point possible on a wall that is over 15 meters high in a maximum of 6 minutes.

Climbing is one of the activities on the rise on Wikiloc in recent years.

A climber’s silhouette against a rosy sky in the background
Climbing, a sport on the rise – Photo by @G.A. R54M

Skateboarding

Another sport that will be included for the first time in the Olympic Games, which is also an activity available on Wikiloc, is skateboarding

Skateboarding, made popular mostly by the younger generations and often practiced in urban areas, will have two different competitions in Tokyo 2020: street and park. In the street category, the participants will skate on a track that imitates the street and should be used to demonstrate their skills in order to get the highest points from the panel of judges. As regards the park category, the objective is the same, but the trial takes place on a wavy track with ups and downs, as well as special curves.

Equestrian

The Olympic equitation has three different disciplines (dressage, jumping and eventing), where the riders will compete for the Olympic medals individually or in teams.

Dexterity and elegance are evident in dressage to the delight of all horse lovers. In show jumping, they must complete a course of 12 to 15 obstacles ranging from 1.40 m to 1.65 m high. And in eventing (dressage, jumping and cross-country) the riders face a course of about 6 km with their horse with more than 40 obstacles to overcome. During the test, they reach speeds exceeding 30 km/h!

A rider on a white horse while on a horse trail
Equitation is the sport of riding horses – Photo by @garbiteri

Golf

An Olympic event in Paris 1900 and Saint Louis 1904, golf disappeared from the Olympic agenda until the Olympics in Rio 2016.

The sport’s format that will be in effect in Tokyo 2020 will be Stroke Play. For four days, the golfers will take part in four 18-hole rounds (72 rounds in all) in which the Olympic champion will be the player with the least total strokes. The golf headquarters (Kasumigaseki Country Club), is located among the green hills of Musashino, in the Japanese city of Kawagoe.

A golfer in the mid-put on the green
At Tokyo 2020, golf will be in the Olympics for the fourth time – Photo by @fstmo