Where to try the newest Olympic sports for Tokyo 2020 near you

Living Well | Jessica Taylor Yates | Posted on 09 July 2021

Do you have what it takes to bring home Olympic gold? 

With each Olympic Games comes the opportunity for audiences across the globe to get excited and interested about new sports. For example, did you know that it was at our own Sydney Olympics in 2000 that the triathlon and taekwondo first debuted on the Olympic stage?

This year, the Tokyo Olympics (still branded as Tokyo 2020) will itself debut five new sports, from surfing to rock climbing and even skateboarding.

We took a look to see where you can have a go at one of these sports and let out your inner Olympian. Who knows – you might just have what it takes to bring home the gold.

-Please note all attractions are subject to change due to Covid-19 and seasonal closures. Please contact your organisation of interest to find out the latest on their operational hours. 

The countdown for Tokyo 2020 is on!

The countdown for Tokyo 2020 is on! Image: Getty.


The International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved the following five new sports for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics:

Surfing

Surfing? Isn’t that something beachy Aussies do in their spare time? Not anymore. Making its debut on Japan’s Pacific coast, Tokyo is bringing the Olympics to the ocean, or Tsuriagasaki Beach to be precise. Surfers will be judged on the difficulty of their manoeuvres, with each heat lasting around 20 minutes.

Australians are no strangers to surfing, and we expect to have a strong showing in this area of the games. Victorians looking to get into this much-loved Australian pastime can get surfing lessons right here in the city at Australia's first surf park in Melbourne, URBNSURF (re-opening in mid-August). Of course, all pro surfers head to our own version of surfer's paradise, Torquay. Here, you can have a group or private lesson at Go Ride A Wave. While you’re there, have a dip into The Australian National Surfing Museum with your RACV Members discount. 

Sport climbing

Sport climbing is really just what Australians refer to as ‘rock climbing’ but on a much bigger, and significantly more difficult, scale. Climbers use their bodies to head up steep ascents 15 meters high and are judged on speed, bouldering, and lead.

Sport climbing is big in Japan, and as such, they're going to be the ones to watch in this category. Not for the faint of heart, this sport requires patience, skill, strength, and flexibility. For those who are already experienced, look into a rock climbing adventure around The Grampians in areas like Summerdale Valley.

For beginners who want to get their inner adventurer on, head to the ultimate climbing experience at Hardrock, located in both Nunawading and the CBD. With courses from kids and beginners to adults and advancers, Hardrock and locations like Bayside Rock Climbing in the south and Northside Boulders in Brunswick will have you tackling those real-life walls in no time as you go for gold.

Surfer

Do the Aussies have what it takes to bring home gold in surfing? Image: Getty. 


Sport climbing

Sport climbing is big in Japan. Image: Getty. 


Skateboarding

Got what it takes to be the next Tony Hawk? Once relegated to 80s and 90s youth, skateboarding is back in a big way, and what better way to show it than a nod from the IOC? With two categories – street and park – set to take place in Tokyo for the very first time, when it comes to this sport, the gold could be anyone’s for the taking.

The City of Melbourne offers a detailed list of skate parks located around Melbourne. Organisations such as Skateboarding Victoria and Curbside Coaching also provide lessons for those looking to get some air and give this latest Olympic sport a try, no matter their age, sex or skill level.

Karate

This sport has a special place in Japan, which held the first Karate World Championship over 50 years ago. A Japanese martial art, karate is as much about self-defence as what the Japanese refer to as ‘budō’- self-development. Popularised thanks to martial arts films, the sport is now be taught at schools around the world. Karate’s Olympic debut will take place where the original championship was held, featuring both men’s and women’s competitions.

Karate is a sport that can be started at any age, or even together with the whole family. Those who attend regular classes look to make their way up in skill from a ‘white belt’ for a beginner to a ‘black belt’ – the highest belt in martial arts. Karate Victoria has a list of places for you to get started around the state. 

Australian olympic skateboarder

Could you be Australia's next skatebaording champion? Image: Getty. 


Baseball at Olympics

Baseball will be making a comeback at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Image: Getty. 


Baseball and Softball

Officially being introduced as ‘one’ sport under the Tokyo 2020 banner, whilst they technically aren’t brand ‘new’ to the Olympics (they featured in the Beijing 2008 Games), they’re here for a one-off comeback tour. There will be six countries competing in men’s baseball, and the same for women’s softball.

Baseball is popular in Japanese culture, and alongside the USA (with minor league players), Mexico and Canada are being touted as the ones to watch. The final will be held at the Yokohama Stadium.

While baseball isn’t at the forefront of Australian sports, those who grew up on a healthy diet of American film and television should have some point of reference for the game. Those looking to let out their inner Yankee can head to Baseball Victoria, who offer a wealth of clubs to join around Melbourne and the state.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games begin on July 23 2021. Go Aussie Go!