One thing I will give Judo is that it is now a genuinely international sport. When it was first introduced to the Olympic Schedule in 1964 (in Tokyo, funnily enough), the Host Nation won all but one of the Gold Medals on offer. In Rio 52 years later, 126 nations entered the competition – of those, 26 won a medal. For the first time there will be a mixed team event, which may add some additional interest into the mix. Or not.
After 40 years of trying, Karate has finally made it to the Olympics. However, I find it hard to get invested in yet another martial art/combat sport on the event schedule, particularly with Jiu-jitsu also making moves – unfortunately for them, failing in the process – towards a similar introduction. All yours.
The last three days of the Olympics are when Karate makes an appearance, with medals dished out on each of those days.
Let’s state the obvious to start with – this event is a remarkable feat of stamina and endurance. Beats me how the hell these guys and gals manage to do what they do for 10km. But the sport suffers from a massive drawback when it comes to television viewing. It is criminally boring. That’s not to take anything away from the athletes, and I am not for one second suggesting it should be dropped as an Olympic sport – it is a no brainer that it stays. It’s just that it is akin to watching the World Paint Drying Championships.
When you think about it, it is strange this isn’t regarding as one of the premier events on the calendar. With a combination of fencing, swimming, riding, shooting and running, it really does cover a wide range of sporting endeavours. One of the real challenges is the fact that for the riding, the athletes meet the horses for just 20 minutes prior to competition, so good luck with that. It’s a good watch, although it would be difficult for the Tunisian team to try and pull of what they did in 1960 under a more watchful TV audience.
These athletes will be off the booze (probably) until the final two days of competition. Viewing times are from 5.30pm to 11.15pm.
A sport we know all too well in New Zealand, and one for which we have a great affinity. It is our most successful Olympic sport with 11 Gold Medals (24 in total) and whilst the expectations for Tokyo aren’t quite what they may have been in the past, hopes are high. Hopefully the weather will offer more assistance than it did in Rio, where course selection was not h finest. Another blue ribbon event, with 8 days of frenetic activity – each of the last 4 days has Gold Medals on offer.
The more savvy among you will have noticed that this event is not listed as Sevens, or Rugby Sevens – it is indeed officially Rugby. Making it’s debut in Rio, it is back this time around with Fiji looking to defend its Men’s title, and Australia the Women’s. One reason I enjoy the Olympics that it provides a platform to view several sports you may not necessarily be afforded the chance to otherwise. Frankly, I see enough rugby the other 11.5 months of the year for this to be of any interest, but hey – whatever cheeses your cracker.
Six days of competition, slap bang in the middle of the calendar, with games effectively screening from midday to midnight.
Now that the Americas Cup is over, we will get to see how many of the cargo pants and boat shoes wearers will be rivetted to the TV for the duration of this event. My pick is not many. However, names like Meech and Maloney, Tuke and Burling will be carrying our hopes in another one of our most successful Olympic sports. A couple of hours south of Tokyo lies Enoshima – the same venue used in 1964.
A whopping great 11 days of sailing on the calendar, cutting right through the Games. Think 3pm to 9pm here, but good luck following the different categories.
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You can find more on the Tokyo Diaries, here.