New sports debuts in Tokyo Olympics to capture ‘cool’ crowd

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USA : Skateboarding, surfing, karate, and sports climbing are set to debut in the Olympics this summer, with Rugby Sevens making a return after debuting in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Ross Young, CEO of USA Rugby (the governing body of the sport in the US), asserts that people would think rugby is more popular in the U.S. since it has elements of both American football and basketball. After debuting in the Rio Olympics, USA Rugby had seen an increase of almost double its members from a decade ago, which at that time was 80,000. Rugby players like Carlin Isles, who has more than 2000,000 followers on his social media accounts, will gain more visibility as the sport continues to grow.

According to a survey by the National Sporting Goods Association, there were 2.6 million surfers in the US in the year 2020. This could be due to surfing is only available by the sea as well as the expensive gear required for the sport. Alex Seel who is a surfer and skateboarder who lives in Far Roackaway, New York, said that only $100 is needed to start skateboarding, while $1000 is needed to start surfing. 

Professor Stefan Szymanski of the University of Michigan School of Kinesiology said that being a part of the Olympics will potentially garner exposure for the sport in every country of the world. Not everyone in the world will take up surfing, but it will be played on the television in houses around the world, which will bring more visibility to the sport. 

*Photo is for illustration purposes only.

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