PARK CITY, Utah. — Today is June 23, on July 23 the Opening Ceremony for the Summer Olympic Games begins in Tokyo. Thus the countdown is on for the debut of five new sports on the world stage. One of those sports is karate and the others are skateboarding, baseball/softball, sport climbing, and surfing. The sport additions were announced by International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach on August 3, 2016.
Bach said, “We want to take sport to the youth. With the many options that young people have, we cannot expect any more that they will come automatically to us. We have to go to them.”
“The IOC plans call for staging the skateboarding and sports climbing events in temporary venues installed in urban settings, marking a historic step in bringing the Games to young people and reflecting the trend of urbanization of sport. The additional sports in Tokyo will not impact the athlete or event quotas of existing Olympic sports or be binding on future host cities. The IOC considered a variety of factors when assessing the proposal, including the impact on gender equality, the youth appeal of the sports, and the legacy value of adding them to the Tokyo Games,” The IOC said in a statement.
The statement continued, “The inclusion of the new sports will add 18 events and 474 athletes, with equal numbers of women and men for all sports except baseball/softball, which will have the same number of teams but different player totals, because softball teams have 15 players whilst baseball teams have 24. Tokyo 2020 will rely heavily on existing and temporary venues to stage the competitions.”
Karate is new to the Olympic Games and Parkite Cooper Luckan is new to Karate. Luckan, 14, competed in his first karate tournament two weeks ago. placing 1st in forms and 2nd in nunchucks. He had only taken up nunchucks three weeks prior to competition day. Luckan started karate after feeling a strong draw to the discipline, philosophy, and strength that comes with it. He trains three days per week. “His favorite thing about karate is that everyone wants you to improve. When he attended the tournament all the students from all the dojos were cheering one another on. The support is amazing,” said his mom, Megan Luckan. Cooper, who is excited to watch the karate during the Olympic Games, has been inspired by the athletes who’ll represent Team USA in Tokyo to pursue becoming a black belt.