Australian perspectives in new Olympic sports

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FIVE SPORTS WERE ADDED TO THE OLYMPIC PROGRAM FOR THE TOKYO GAMES IN 2020, FOUR FOR THE FIRST TIME, WHILE BASEBALL/SOFTBALL RETURNS AFTER 12 YEARS OF ABSENCE.

SURFING

Tsurigasaki Beach could well join the long list of Olympic venues hosting a legendary Australian sporting moment. Seven-time World Champion Stephanie Gilmore and Sally Fitzgibbons should both be great gold medals in the women’s event. It is far from clear which Australian men will get the nod.

SKATEBOARDING

Australia has a long history of adding new disciplines to the Summer and Winter Olympics schedule, such as BMX racing and freestyle skiing. Teenagers Keegan Palmer and Hayley Wilson are real podium candidates in the men’s park and women’s street events respectively.

SPORT CLIMPS

What will happen here is hard to predict because the Olympic part is a combination of three different disciplines – speed, bouldering and lead. Should prefer athletes from Japan, the United States and Europe.

KARATE

It would be a shock if the host nation did not dominate the process in the historical Nippon Budokan. No guarantee that Australia will be represented at all.

BASEBALL/SOFTBALL

Australia won baseball silver in Athens in 2004 – a sport that is as popular in Japan as it is in the USA and Central America. The Australian women’s softball team has won four medals in recent games, but has not yet reached the podium. They have to qualify for both tournaments.

AUSTRALIA AT THE SUMMER OLYMPICS SINCE 1992

Barcelona 1992: 290 athletes. Seven gold pieces, nine silver pieces, eleven bronzes. 27 total medals. 10th place on the medal table.

Atlanta 1996: 424 athletes. Nine gold pieces, nine silver pieces, 23 bronzes. 41 total medals. Seventh on the medal table.

Sydney 2000: 630 athletes. 16 gold pieces, 25 silver pieces, 17 bronzes. 58 total medals. Fourth on the medal table.

Athens 2004: 482 athletes. 17 gold pieces, 16 silver pieces, 17 bronzes. 50 total medals. Fourth on the medal table.

Beijing 2008: 433 athletes. 14 gold pieces, 15 silver pieces, 17 bronzes. 46 total medals. Sixth on the medal table

London 2012: 410 athletes. Eight gold pieces, 15 silver pieces, 12 bronzes. 35 total medals. Eight on the medal table.

Rio 2016: 422 athletes. Eight gold pieces, 11 silver pieces, 10 bronzes. 29 total medals. 10th place on the medal table

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About Author

Mette Frederiksen is a The Washington Newsday correspondent. With her coverage of general science, NASA and the interface between technology and society, Frederiksen has been in the Science Desk's Technology Beat since joining Washington Newsday in 2018.

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