2019 NO.27

The Olympics Are Coming to Tokyo


Street Sports Debut on the Olympic Stage

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The program of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will feature, for the first time in the history of the Games, the new category of “urban sports.” The vibrant ambience of these sports, which blend athletics with music and fashion, is becoming popular, especially among young people. They bring a previously unheard-of style of enjoying the Olympic Games, inviting athletes and audience to come together to make the events more exciting and fun—both to compete in and to watch.

Skateboarding: Street and Park

Ikeda Daisuke demonstrates a fancy trick. (©FISE Hiroshima 2018/Cedric de Rodot - Hurricane Group – FISE)

Skateboarding is the sport that best represents youth street culture. Ever since it debuted in extreme sports competitions in Europe and the US, skateboarding has taken hold as a point-based competitive sport. There will be two skateboarding events at Tokyo 2020: Street, which will be held on a straight course featuring stairs, handrails, etc.; and Park, which will be held in a bowl-shaped arena. Dynamic and unique tricks (mid-air moves, flips, and other techniques) will surely receive not only high scores but also mighty cheers from the crowd.

BMX (Bicycle Motocross) Freestyle Park

Nakamura Rimu (©JCF 2018)

BMX Freestyle Park is a new event in the Olympic cycling program, in which the contestants will compete not with speed, but with the level of difficulty and aesthetics of their tricks. The riders will be given one minute to perform a series of tricks in an arena featuring a complex combination of various curved surfaces from small to large. Top-class riders will fascinate the audience with combinations of complicated tricks, such as jumping twice the height of the ramps, rotating horizontally and vertically while on their bikes, or flipping their bikes in mid-air. Originality of composition will also be among the criteria for evaluating contestants’ performance.

3x3 Basketball

Suzuki Keita (No. 7) executes a shot. (©3x3.EXE PREMIER 2017)

As a sport that has long been played in streets around the world, street basketball finally got standardized global rules in 2007. It is played by teams of three on a half-court with one basket. The winner is the team that scores more points in 10 minutes or scores 21 points first. The time limit to shoot (also known as “shot clock”) is only 12 seconds, an original rule that significantly speeds up the game. Another distinctive feature of 3x3 basketball is its high entertainment value, thanks to the colorful commentary of the players and the energetic music often heard on the court.