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Tokyo 2020 Guide S-Z

Sailing 

  • Sailing was first contested as an Olympic sport at the 1900 Paris Games. Since then, the classes of boats allowed to compete have continually evolved to reflect advances in yacht design and technology. Equipment advances over the past 20 years have created a trend towards smaller and lighter craft, placing ever greater demands on both the athletic and technical capacities of the sailors.
  • Races are sailed in what is known as a fleet racing format: fleets of equally-matched boats racing around the same course area at the same time. Courses are designed to incorporate a variety of different sailing angles: upwind, downwind and reaching.
  • After winning a historic gold medal at the Rio 2016 Games, Croatia’s most successful sailor Šime Fantela has partnered with his younger brother, Mihovil in the 49ers for Tokyo 2020.

Shooting 

  • From just five shooting events at the inaugural 1896 Olympic Games to the 15 today, the sport has grown steadily alongside the advance in firearms technology. There are 15 events in the Olympic programme, divided into three different groups: rifle, pistol and shotgun. 
  • Marksmen need to be as steady as possible to be accurate. In order to achieve this, they use relaxation techniques to drop their heartbeat to half its normal rate, fire between heartbeats and use blinkers to hit a bullseye, which appears as no more than a tiny dot in the distance.
  • Luna Solomon is a shooter aiming for Tokyo 2020 after taking refuge. The Eritrean-born athlete took up sport shooting after moving to Switzerland, training under Olympic champion Niccolo Campriani.

Skateboarding 

  • Skateboarding will make its Olympic debut in Tokyo 2020.  
  • In each round, the skaters will perform two 45-second runs and five tricks. Five judges use a 0-10.0 point scale. The skater’s four highest run or trick scores are added to create their final round score.
  • Puerto Rican skateboarder Manny Santiago can’t wait to represent Puerto Rico at Tokyo 2020 as he wants to rewrite history for Puerto Rico

Sport Climbing 

  • Sport climbing has become highly popular over the past two decades. In 1985, a group of climbers gathered in Bardonecchia, near Turin, Italy, for an event called SportRoccia which became the first organised lead competition in which competitors climb within a certain time frame.
  • There will be 40 athletes in total in Tokyo, evenly split into two groups of 20, competing in three disciplines: bouldering, lead climbing and speed.
  • The Olympics is Sara Coxsey’s last event as a professional competition climber. Coxsey made history when she became the first climber to be selected to represent Great Britain at the Olympic debut of the sport, the Tokyo 2020 Games in 2021.

Surfing 

  • In competition, each surfer has unconditional right of way for their chosen direction, left or right, based on their priority and dictated by the Priority and Interference Rules.
  • Surfers perform manoeuvres on a given wave, the totality of which is scored by a panel of five judges based on the difficulty, variety and type of manoeuvres. Surfers are also judged on their power, speed and flow during and between the manoeuvres.
  • Duke Kahanamoku, a three-time Olympic freestyle swimming champion, first advocated that surfing be included in the Olympic Games in 1920. The Hawaiian, who was known as the Father of Modern Surfing, is credited with popularising surfing around the world.

Swimming 

  • Swimming has featured on the programme of all editions of the Games since 1896. The very first Olympic events were freestyle (crawl) or breaststroke. Backstroke was added in 1904.
  • In the 1940s, breaststrokers discovered that they could go faster by bringing both arms forward over their heads. This practice was immediately forbidden in breaststroke, but gave birth to butterfly, whose first official appearance was at the 1956 Games in Melbourne. This style is now one of the four strokes used in competition.
  • Caeleb Dressel, the world record holder in the 100m butterfly eased to the wall first in the event at the U.S. Team Trials, before doing the same in the 50m freestyle sprint semis – providing further proof of steady progression towards Tokyo 2020

Table Tennis 

  • It is thought that upper-class Victorians in England invented table tennis in the 1880s as a genteel, after-dinner alternative to lawn tennis,
  • In 1926, meetings were held in Berlin and London that led to the formation of the International Table Tennis Federation. The first World Championships were held in London in 1926, but the sport had to wait a long time before it was given its Olympic debut at the 1988 Seoul Games.
  • Ranked 21st in the world (as of 1 June 2021), Quadri Aruna is the world’s best African, and has qualified for the Olympic Games in 2021 by virtue of his world ranking

Taekwondo 

  • Taekwondo is a traditional Korean martial art, which means ‘the way of kicking and punching’. The origin of taekwondo dates back to Korea’s Three-Kingdom era (c.50 BC), when Silla Dynasty warriors, the Hwarang, began to develop a martial art: Taekkyon (‘foot-hand’).
  • Taekwondo made its debut as a demonstration Olympic sport at the 1988 Seoul Games, and became an official medal sport at the 2000 Sydney Games.
  • Gbagbi has been consistently improving since her Olympic bronze medal in Taekwondo at Rio 2016, and now has an arsenal of moves to help her challenge for gold at Tokyo 2020

Tennis 

  • The earliest recognisable relative to tennis, as we know it, was ‘jeu de paume’, played in 11th century France. 
  • In 1913, lawn tennis was becoming increasingly popular worldwide. Therefore, it seemed natural that the existing National Tennis Associations should join forces to ensure the game was uniformly structured. An international conference was held between 12 nations in Paris and the International Lawn Tennis Federation (ILTF) was created.
  • Tennis has a long Olympic history but withdrew from the programme after 1924. It did not return as a medal sport until 1988. 

Trampoline 

  • The first modern trampoline was built by George Nissen and Larry Griswold around 1934 at the University of Iowa. It was initially used to train tumblers and astronauts, and as a training tool to develop and hone acrobatic skills for other sports such as diving, gymnastics and freestyle skiing.
  • Trampolining made its first appearance at the 2000 Games in Sydney, with men’s and women’s competitions.

Triathlon 

  • Triathlon was invented in the early 1970s by the San Diego Track Club as an alternative workout to the rigours of track training. The club’s first event consisted of a 10km run, an 8km cycle and a 500m swim. 
  • In 1991, World Triathlon launched its first full season of the World Cup circuit. Twelve races were contested in nine different countries. More World Cup races have subsequently been added every year as the sport’s appeal continues to grow.
  • Triathlon made its Olympic full medal debut at the 2000 Sydney Games. This helped the sport to become even more popular.

Volleyball

  • Volleyball was conceived as a less-strenuous alternative to basketball. The sport became popular very quickly and made its Olympic debut in 1964.
  • The sport quickly became popular across the world. Japan was playing the game by 1896, followed closely by other Asian countries, and the sport developed rapidly over the next 20 years. A specially designed ball came into play; six-a-side play became standard and the rules mandating three hits were instituted.
  • The Soviet Union has won the most medals. The Japanese and the Soviet Union women’s teams dominated from 1964-1984, but since then the balance of power has shifted to Cuba, then to China and now to Brazil. The United States men’s teams were prominent in the 1980s, Italy in the 1990s and Brazil in the 2000s.

Water Polo 

  • In the early days, the players rode on floating barrels that resembled mock horses, and swung at the ball with mallet-like sticks. This made it similar to equestrian polo, hence its name. In the United States, it was termed “softball water polo” due to the use of an unfilled bladder as a ball.
  • Water polo made its Olympic debut at the Paris Games in 1900. It was not included in 1904, but would be present at each subsequent edition of the Olympic Games.
  • In 2000 in Sydney, Hungary make a remarkable comeback, winning its seventh gold medal in water polo. In the same year, women’s water polo made its first official appearance at the Olympic Games, 100 years after the debut of this discipline.

Weightlifting 

  • At the beginning of the century, Austria, Germany and France were the most successful nations. However in the 1950s, the Soviet Union’s weightlifters rose to prominence and stayed there until the 1990s, when China, Turkey, Greece and Iran catapulted to the lead. 
  • Although men’s weightlifting has always been on the programme of the Olympic Games—except for at the 1900, 1908 and 1912 editions—women started to participate only at the 2000 Games in Sydney.
  • Turkey’s Naim Süleymanoğlu and Halil Mutlu have each won three gold medals, like Greece’s Pyrros Dimas and Kakhi Kakhiasvilis. Hungarian weightlifter Imre Földi and Germany’s Ronnie Weller and Ingo Steinhöfel hold a special record

Wrestling 

  • With the possible exception of athletics, wrestling is recognised as the world’s oldest competitive sport. 
  • The 1900 Games were the only ones where wrestling was not present in any shape or form. Freestyle wrestling first appeared on the Olympic programme at the 1904 Games in St. Louis. It was not included in the 1912 Games, but since the 1920 Games in Antwerp, it has been present at every edition of the Games. 
  • Women’s wrestling was introduced in 2004 at the Athens Games. The Japanese women won medals in each category, while the USA and France won two medals each. The first medal was won by Ukraine’s Irini Merleni, who dominated her four opponents in the 48kg category.
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Tokyo 2020 Guide D-R

Diving

  • In the late 19th century, a group of Swedish divers visited Great Britain. They put on diving displays that proved hugely popular and led to the formation of the first diving organisation, the Amateur Diving Association, in 1901.
  • Diving was included in the Olympic Games for the first time at the 1904 Games in St. Louis. The springboard and platform events have been included since the 1908 Olympic Games in London. Since the Stockholm Games in 1912, women have taken part in the diving events.
  • This discipline was first dominated by the USA. This domination started to waver with the participation of China at the end of the 1980s. When the American Greg Louganis, who is considered the greatest diver ever, was still in competition, the Chinese managed to achieve some victories. Since Louganis retired, China has dominated the men’s events. Lately, China’s women divers have proved themselves unbeatable.

Equestrian 

  • The horse made its first appearance at the ancient Olympic Games in 680 BC when chariot racing was introduced
  • With the mechanisation of the army over the years, civilians became more and more prevalent. The decline of the military teams also paved the way for women, who made their first Olympic appearance in jumping at the 1956 Games in Stockholm, and are today as often, if not more, on the top spot of the podium
  • Although women had been allowed to ride in equestrian events since 1952, it wasn’t until Helena du Pont competed for the United States at Tokyo 1964 that eventing saw its first woman representing her country.

Fencing 

  • Fencing began the move from a form of military training to a sport in either the 14th or 15th century. Both Italy and Germany lay claim to its origins, with German fencing masters organising the first guilds in the 15th century, the most notable being the Marxbruder of Frankfurt, formed in 1478.
  • Fencing was included for the first time at the 1896 Games in Athens, and has remained on the Olympic programme since then. The women’s fencing competition entered the Games in 1924 in Paris.
  • Italy’s Nedo Nadi is the only fencer to have won a medal in every weapon in a single edition of the Games.

Football 

  • Football first appeared on the programme of the Games of the II Olympiad, Paris 1900. It has been on the programme of each edition of the Games ever since, with the exception of Los Angeles 1932.
  • In 1996, women’s football was introduced into the Olympic programme. The USA has been on the highest step of the podium multiple times, including at Atlanta 1996, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012
  • Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Carli Lloyd are some of the big names set to represent USWNT at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic football tournament starting next month.

Golf 

  • Before Rio 2016, golf had been on the Olympic programme twice: in 1900 and 1904. At the 1900 Games in Paris, two events were staged: one for men and one for women.
  • Americans Margaret Ives Abbott and Charles Edward Sands were the first Olympic champions in the two events.

Handball 

  • After 1936, field handball was no longer played at the Games, except as a demonstration sport in 1952 in Helsinki. Indoor handball was presented for the first time at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. Yugoslavia was victorious and won the first gold medal after a competition between 16 men’s teams.
  • The introduction of women’s handball to the Games took place in 1976 in Montreal. The Soviet Union won this first women’s Olympic competition, taking home two gold medals
  • Russia’s rising handball star Elena Mikhaylichenko. Russia are handball Olympic champions and with teen sensation Elena Mikhaylichenko now in the ranks, they are hopeful of defending their title at Tokyo 2020.

Hockey 

  • After a first appearance at the 1908 Games in London, hockey became a firm fixture on the Olympic programme as from the Antwerp Games in 1920. 
  • Women made their entrance in this sport in 1980 at the Moscow Games. Since the 2000 Games in Sydney, men have competed in a 12-team tournament and women in a 10-team one
  • The Indian men’s team, with six consecutive titles between 1928 and 1956, was unbeaten in 30 consecutive matches

Judo 

  • Judo made its very first appearance at the Olympic Games in 1964 in Tokyo. However, it was not included in the Olympic programme in 1968 in Mexico City
  • Men and women now compete in seven weight categories. There was originally a men’s category open to all weights, but this event was withdrawn after the 1984 Games in Los Angeles.
  • In the 1964 a Dutchman named Anton Geesink defeated three-time Japanese national champion Kaminaga Akio before 15,000 people at Nippon Budokan Hall. 

Karate 

  • A karate practitioner is called a karateka. Karate comprises two modalities: Kumite and Kata. In Kumite, or combat, the winner of the three-minute fights is the one who obtains a clear lead of eight points, or the competitor having the highest number of points at time-up. If the fight is a draw, then the winner is determined by the first unopposed point advantage (Senshu) or in the case of a scoreless result, by a majority decision of the judges (Hantei).
  • Karate will make its full Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 after being on the programme at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018, where Japan topped the medal table with one gold and three silver medals.
  • The 28-year-old Team USA karate athlete is a first-generation American, born in Hawaii, with Japanese parents. She spent much of her childhood and schooling in Japan, so her connection to the country is strong.

Marathon Swimming 

  • Marathon swimming is the longest swimming event on the Olympic programme, covering 10km in open water. Lasting around two hours, the race tests swimmers’ endurance and is often decided by tenths of seconds.
  • Near the 7km point of the race, swimmers begin to focus on the finish. Often, those who become medallists break away and are able to maintain their final charge without using up too much energy and strength. Races are often won with margins as small as tenths of a second.
  • In 2005, Russian long-distance swimmer Larisa Ilchenko won the inaugural event, and South African swimmer Natalie du Toit finished in 16th position despite becoming an amputee seven years prior following a motorcycle accident.

Modern Pentathlon 

  • The ancient pentathlon consisted of running, jumping, spear-throwing, discus and wrestling. The pentathlon held a position of unique importance, with the winner ranked as Victor Ludorum.
  • The modern pentathlon was introduced by Baron de Coubertin at the Stockholm Games in 1912, comprising pistol shooting, fencing, swimming, horse riding and running.
  • In 2010 during the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, athletes used a laser pistol instead of a traditional pellet-firing air gun for the combined event for the first time during an official international competition. Laser shooting was introduced for both safety reasons and to reduce the environmental impact of the lead bullets. It debuted at an Olympic Games in London 2012.

Rhythmic Gymnastics 

  • Rhythmic gymnastics is a women-only event in which gymnasts perform on a floor with a rope, hoop, ball, clubs or ribbon accompanied by music, in individual or group events.
  • Rhythmic gymnastics evolved from a host of related disciplines. It incorporates elements from classical ballet, such as pliés and arabesques, as well as the German system of emphasising apparatus work for muscle development and the Swedish method of using free exercise to develop rhythm.
  • Rhythmic gymnastics has been dominated by athletes from Russia since Sydney 2000, and at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, Dina and Arina Averina hope to continue that trend for the Russian Olympic Committee team. The 22-year-old twins continue to stand atop the world of rhythmic gymnastics, with Dina beating Arina to gold at a recent World Cup meet in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Rowing 

  • Rowing was first used as a means of transport in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. The races are divided into sculling and sweep oar. Sculling events use two oars, whilst in sweep, the rower holds one. The eight-person crews have a coxswain, who steers the boat and directs the crew, but in all other boats, one rower steers by controlling a small rudder with a foot pedal.
  • Sir Steve Redgrave of Great Britain is widely hailed as the greatest rower ever. A six-time World Champion
  • Women made their debut at the Games in 1976 in Montreal. They competed in a smaller programme. The Olympic Games in 1996 in Atlanta marked the introduction of the lightweight events.

Rugby 

  • Between 1845 and 1848, pupils from the Rugby School and students from the University of Cambridge in Great Britain documented and codified the rules of rugby.
  • Rugby union—15 players per team—has featured on the Olympic programme four times: in 1900, 1908, 1920 and 1924.
  • In 1900, at the Paris Olympic Games, it was the French team who won the first Olympic tournament on home soil. The tournaments of the other editions of the Games gave victory to Australasia (a mixed Australian and New Zealand team) in 1908 in London; then twice to the USA, at the Antwerp Games in 1920 and Paris Games in 1924.
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Tokyo 2020 Guide A-C

3×3 Basketball 

  • Sarah Gamal will make history at Tokyo 2020, becoming the first Arab and African woman to officiate a 3×3 basketball game at the Olympics.
  • In just seven years, the sport has gone from the street to the Olympic games
  • Play on half a regular five-a-side basketball court. Each team shooting into a single hoop. Team consists of four players – 3 on court and 1 substitute. The three-point line in conventional basketball serves as the two-point line with shots made outside the line earning two points and those inside one point. Winner is the team with the highest score at the end of the 10 minutes or first team to reach 21 points.

Archery 

  • Dates back over 10,000 years when bows and arrows were used for hunting and was developed as a competitive activity in medieval England.
  • The most decorated archer in Olympic history is Hubert Van Innis of Belgium, who competed in 1900 and 1920, winning six gold and three silver medals.
  • Individual elimination matches see the loser leave the competition and the winner move to the next stage until it is down to two athletes 

Artistic Gymnastics 

  • The Greeks believes symmetry between the mind and body was possible only when coupled with intellectual activity. The term emerged in the early 1800s to distinguish free-flowing styles from techniques used in military training
  • Between 1896 and 1924, the sport evolved into what we recognise as modern gymnastics. In the early days of artistic gymnastics at the Games, participants often had a background in ballet, and would reach their peak in their 20s
  • Nadia Comaneci’s and Nellie Kim’s perfect scores of 10 at the 1976 Montreal Games, at the age of 14, heralded an era of younger champions, trained specifically in gymnastics from childhood

Artistic Swimming 

  • Annette Kellerman, an Australian swimmer toured the United States performing water acrobatics. Her shows proved very popular and a sport was born. The sport was developed further by Katherine Curtis, who had the idea of combining water acrobatics with music
  • Artistic swimming, also known as synchronised swimming, is a relatively new discipline that has its origins in water acrobatics. It is hugely popular in the United States.
  • A relatively recent discipline, synchronised swimming became an Olympic sport for the first time in Los Angeles in 1984, with solo and duet events. These events also took place at the Olympic Games in 1988 in Seoul and in 1992 in Barcelona. Atlanta replaced them in 1996 with a water ballet for eight people. Since the 2000 Olympic Games, the Olympic programme has included the team event and the duet.

Athletics

  • Throughout recorded sports history, athletics has always been practised. The first event contested in the ancient Olympic Games was the stadium race, a sprint of about 192 metres. Winners in this event have been recorded from as far back as 776 BC.
  • The modern format of athletics, in which a variety of running, jumping, throwing, walking and combined events are competed at a single meeting, evolved in the late 19th century, when schools and military colleges began to incorporate sports and exercise as part of education programmes
  • Women’s events appeared for the first time at the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam, while the men’s programme was standardised as of the 1932 Games in Los Angeles
  • The 1960s saw a boom in athletics in developing countries, with the success of African runners and sprinters of Caribbean origin

Badminton 

  • China has won a total of 18 gold medals — the most by any nation. At London 2012, they became the only country ever to win gold in all five categories 
  • At Rio 2016, the balance of power shifted, with Marin becoming the first non-Asian to claim the women’s singles title. A new generation of players from Europe have started to take centre stage at major tournaments and this edition of the Games could see a shift of what countries win medals
  • Okuhara Nozomi, the Japanese badminton player is intent on making up for her disappointing bronze medal at Rio 2016

Baseball/Softball 

  • Softball was introduced at the Olympic Games Atlanta 1996 as a women-only medal sport, with the US winning the sport’s inaugural gold medal 
  • Softball is played in 121 countries and territories across the world and is the women-only counterpart to the men-only baseball tournament in the Olympics 
  • Baseball and softball were absent from the Olympic programme following Beijing 2008. Since both disciplines are hugely popular in Japan, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee used its status as host country to include baseball and softball on the programme 

Basketball 

  • Basketball made its appearance at the Olympic Games in 1904 in St. Louis as a demonstration sport
  • Luka Doncic wants one thing – to take Slovenia to their very first Games in Tokyo 2020. In his only tournament with the national team, he won the 2017 EuroBasket. Now he is one of the biggest stars taking part in the 2021 Olympic Qualifier.
  • In 1992 at the Barcelona Games, famous players from the National Basketball Association (NBA) were allowed for the first time to represent the USA. This team, known as the Dream Team in the international media, was undoubtedly the best basketball team ever formed. It delighted the public and widely dominated the Olympic tournament in 1992.

Beach Volleyball 

  • Beach volleyball first appeared in the early 1920s in Santa Monica, California. Then what started out as just some family fun became a sport spreading rapidly across the world. By the 1930s, the game had reached countries like Czechoslovakia, Latvia and Bulgaria.
  • Beach volleyball really took off in the United States during the 1930s, perhaps as a little relief from the Great Depression. 
  • It was the crossover with popular culture that really launched the sport. In the 1960s, The Beatles appeared at the legendary Sorrento Beach in Los Angeles for a quick hit and U.S. President John F. Kennedy even went to watch a game. 

Boxing 

  • Lauren Price is part of the Team GB boxing team after securing qualification in Paris. Despite competing in multiple different sports and winning several golds, attending the Olympics is the “dream” for Price.
  • With the fall of the Roman Empire, boxing came to an abrupt end. It resurfaced in 17th century England, and organised amateur boxing officially began in 1880. Originally only five weight classes were contested: Bantam, not exceeding 54 kilos; Feather, not exceeding 57 kilos; Light, not exceeding 63.5 kilos; Middle, not exceeding 73 kilos; and Heavy, any weight.
  • Women’s boxing made its debut at the 2012 London Games in London. The traditional 11 men’s events were then replaced by 10 men’s and 3 women’s events.

Canoe Slalom

  • As with canoe sprint, canoe slalom also utilises canoes and kayaks, however, there are some significant differences. The sport was modelled from ski slalom and began in Switzerland in 1932. In its early days, it was first performed on flat water, but later switched to white water rapids.
  • Soudi and Jodar both successfully qualified for Tokyo 2020 when they finished their respective qualifiers as the fastest African athletes in the race, creating a watershed moment for the continent
  • Canoe and kayak racing became full medal sports at the 1936 Berlin Games. However, events were initially limited to canoe sprint until canoe slalom made its debut at the 1972 Munich Games. Slalom racing was not competed again in the Olympic Games until the 1992 Barcelona Games. Canoe slalom racers compete in four events, three for men and one for women, over the same course.

Cycling BMX Freestyle

  • In BMX Freestyle, riders perform routines consisting of sequences of tricks carried out on flat ground, in the streets, on dirt jumps, a halfpipe and/or on constructed ramps. In competition, riders are judged on the quality of their performance.
  • Hannah Roberts BMX Freestyle is making its Olympic debut in Tokyo and all the spotlight is on the 19-year-old American, who won two world titles in three years
  • At Tokyo 2020, BMX Freestyle cycling competitors will compete in the Park discipline. Riders will be given 60 seconds to execute tricks on obstacles such as walls, box jumps and spines. 

Cycling BMX Racing 

  • In 2008 in Beijing that BMX made its debut on the Olympic programme. The men’s event was won by Latvia’s Maris Strombergs. In the women’s event, it was France’s Anne-Caroline Chausson who took the first Olympic title in this discipline
  • Bicycle motocross (BMX) started in the late 1960s in California, around the time that motocross became a popular sport in the USA. 
  • In April 1981, the International BMX Federation was founded. BMX rapidly developed a unique sporting identity and it became evident that the sport had more in common with cycling than motorcycling. This was officially recognised in 1993, when BMX was fully integrated into the International Cycling Union (UCI)

Cycling Mountain Bike 

  • In the 1970s, mountain biking developed as a fringe sport in California. Taking a bike off-road was nothing new, but the development of a new bike that relished such terrain was; these bikes had fatter tyres, rapid-shift gears, drum brakes and ground-breaking suspension. 
  • The members of the Velo Club Mount Tamalpais in California generally receive the credit for establishing mountain biking as a sport. They invented the Repack Downhill race, held regularly between 1976 and 1979 just across the famous Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. 
  • The first national mountain bike championships were held in 1983 in the USA. 

Cycling Road

  • In 1885, cycling took a big leap forward when J.K. Starley devised the chain-and-gearing system. Since then, engineers have embraced modern technology to build ever faster, sleeker and lighter bikes.
  • Like fencing and athletics, cycling is among the rare sports that have always featured on the Olympic programme. Road cycling, however, was not on the programme of the Paris 1900, St. Louis 1904 or London 1908 Games.
  • Olympic cycling was added to the women’s programme in Los Angeles in 1984, with an individual road event. Later, in 1996, the individual time trial was included in women’s Olympic cycling, as it was for the men’s.

Cycling Track 

  • Track cycling events have been organised at all the editions of the Games since 1896, with the exception of the 1912 Games in Stockholm, when only the road race was staged. 
  • Women have competed in the track events since the Seoul Games in 1988
  • Husband and wife Jason and Laura Kenny are both on the cusp of making history – Jason is currently the joint-most-victorious British Olympian with six gold medals, while Laura could extend her record as the female with most wins in the velodrome, and even overtake her husband’s medal record.
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Adapting to change

I want to know how you will be dealing with this next change that is upon us. We have adapted positively over the last year but, as the biggest change so far in this pandemic is implemented, how will you continue your relationship with exercise? 

I find myself on the train to London to head back to the office for the first time in over a year. 

At the beginning of lockdown, Humans of HIIT helped me and you with a new routine that made us feel better about the new working from home rule and all new restrictions that came with it. It has been reassuring to see followers having the same feelings towards the ‘new normal’. 

But, I now find myself in some kind of uncertainty. We have used exercise to help our wellbeing and workplaces have been very flexible when it has come to working from home hours. People have benefitted more than ever from the sudden shift. The ability to exercise, spend more time with children and use commuting time for something more productive has been a blessing. 

I want to reach out to you guys because as I make my way to the office, I’m thinking how am I going to balance exercise with this new change? Yes, I can go back to exercising before and after work, but it has been great to have had more flexibility to do this when I felt up to it. 

There are companies who have used the pandemic to rethink their working environments and listened to staff members to see what will be beneficial to them, which I think is a positive step forward. 

Written by Caroline Jones

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What are Fats?

I hope you enjoyed and took something away from the previous blog on carbohydrates, here is number 2 of 3 and today we are going to be talking about fats. We will be covering the different types & their benefits; as well as debunking the myth that fats make you fat.

Let’s start with the different types of fats, we have 3 types; unsaturated, saturated and trans fats. As touched on previously in the last blog, everything in moderation is absolutely fine, however as always there are some better options nutritionally and that is the same here with fats.

Unsaturated:

You will often see unsaturated fats labelled as the “healthy” fats & that is because they have many benefits within the body such as improving cholesterol levels, reducing inflammation & helping to protect against cardiovascular diseases. Most of the unsaturated fats tend to be liquid at room temperature, so think of your cooking oils (olive, sunflower) but are also found in nuts and seeds. There are two types of unsaturated, monounsaturated & polyunsaturated. Monounsaturated can be found within olive oils, avocados and many different types of nuts. Polyunsaturated are not made within your body, so these need to be consumed through diet, these are your omega 3 & 6 fatty acids so are most commonly found fish such as salmon or sardines.

Saturated:

Saturated fats tend to be most commonly found in meat and dairy products such as the fatty parts of red meat, butter, creams and also in coconut oil. Whilst it is not confirmed that saturated fats lead to a higher risk of heart disease, it is recommended that you limit these and try to incorporate more unsaturated fats.

Trans:

Trans fats are formed from a process called hydrogenation, which is the heating of liquid vegetable oils in the presence of a hydrogen gas and a catalyst. These can be reheated many times without losing form and this is why they are ideal for cooking fast foods. If there are any types of fats you wanted to avoid then these are them as they have no health benefits and can contribute to heart disease and inflammatory issues.

Now we have a better understanding of the different types of fats, it is time to debunk the myth that eating fats will make you fat. Fat does contain more calories per gram than protein and carbohydrates at 9kcal per gram but this does not mean it will automatically make you gain weight. You would also gain weight from overeating foods high in carbohydrates or protein. Weight loss/gain all boils down to an energy deficit/surplus, so essentially how many calories you are consuming. So, as long as you are consuming less or equal to the calories your body needs, you won’t gain weight even if you do eat a lot of foods containing fat. Nuts & seeds are a great source of healthy fats, however it can be very easy to eat 4-500 calories of these without even realising. A handful of nuts can sometimes easily amount to 200 calories as they are more calorific than other foods, so just be aware of portion sizes when consuming.

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What are Macronutrients and Carbohydrates?

My name is Lee, I am a Personal Trainer and Nutritionist and the newest member of the Humans of HIIT family. Welcome to the first of three short blogs giving you an insight into the three different macronutrients. 

Firstly, macronutrients are the nutrients the body uses in the largest amount & they consist of Carbohydrates, Proteins & Fats. These can then be broken down into micronutrients but that is a topic for another day! 

Today we are going to delve into carbohydrates and debunk the myth that they are the devil of the dieting world. Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy and consist of free sugars, starchy carbs and fibre. For this reason, they play a massive part in our day to day functioning & without them you are likely to feel lethargic and unmotivated. A diet without carbohydrates is known as Ketogenic and whilst a very very small percentage of people follow this, I would argue that it is not sustainable for 99% of the population. Sustainability is the absolute key when it comes to nutrition. When you are looking at changing your eating habits, you should be thinking about whether you will still be able to maintain this 6 months or a year down the line, as opposed to a drastic change that only lasts a few weeks and results in the rebound effect. Small consistent changes will yield fantastic results. 

Carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram and can essentially be broken down into 3 categories, simple, complex and fibrous. When we consume carbohydrates they are broken down into Glucose. 

Simple Carbohydrates
These will be digested by the body very quickly and will provide a quicker release of energy. If your diet is mainly made up of simple sugars you may find that you feel very tired and lethargic as these will cause a fast spike in your blood sugar levels rather than releasing the energy slowly over a longer period of time. An example of these would be sweets, honey, desserts and fruit juices. 

Complex Carbohydrates
Complex or starchy carbohydrates will be digested a lot slower by the body therefore providing a more gradual spike in blood sugar levels. These will leave you feeling fuller for much longer and will provide a longer intake of energy. Pasta, rice, potatoes and oats will all fall into this bracket of carbohydrates.

Fibre
Fibre is the part of carbs that we cannot digest and instead travels through the body undigested and is then broken down by the gut bacteria.  Fibre is a crucial component of our diets and can help protect against many diseases and help improve gut health. Fibre can be found in a lot of foods such as fruit, vegetables, wholegrains and nuts. 

Carbohydrates are certainly not going to make you gain weight, in fact they contain the same amount of calorie per gram as protein, and 5 calories less per gram than fat! Your body will have a maintenance amount of calories that it requires and if you consume more or less than this it will result in fat gain/loss. 

Whilst you should certainly monitor the amount of simple carbohydrates you are consuming as they normally provide little to no nutritional value, you should not be cutting them out completely as a restrictive diet is not one you are going to be able to sustain long term. Plus, sweet treats are something that we all love to enjoy once in a while! 

This is a basic insight into carbohydrates and the takeaway message from this blog is to enjoy everything within moderation & have a look at how your nutrition could support you in reaching your goals.

Recipe time
A short & sweet breakfast idea! This is the ideal breakfast if you constantly find you are pushed for time in the mornings. Prepare the night before in less than 5 minutes & then ready to grab from the fridge in morning and enjoy whilst on your long commute from the kitchen to the living room office! 

Ingredients:

Jumbo rolled oats – 60g (scale to suit your goals)
Milk of your choice (I use almond) – 200ml
Frozen mixed fruits – 100g
Protein powder (optional) – 30g
Chia seeds – 5g

Nutritional breakdown without protein powder:

308kcal
44g carbs
9g fats
9g protein

Nutritional breakdown with protein powder:

426kcal
46g carbs
11g fats
34g protein

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HOH Blog

Listen to Your Body

Listen to your body – Part 2 of our Pilates journey with a member of our community.

I managed a few in house classes before we were hit by another lockdown. I didn’t want this to be a step back and it’s thanks to social media I’ve been able to continue with Pilates. 

I came across ALM Pilates on Instagram. I messaged Anthony, the fitness instructor for more details. Anthony informed me of the range of classes available (beginner, intermediate level etc) and mentioned he does fitness workouts as well, all via Zoom. 

Unlike the in-person classes, I wasn’t nervous at the thought of joining Zoom with people I’ve never met. I chose to take up the beginner classes, taking place on Monday, Wednesday and Friday’s. I was added to a WhatsApp group where Zoom links are shared. 

Although I’ve never met Anthony, I felt included in the class straightaway. His Zoom is spotlighted so there are no distractions. An important part for me about this is it lets me completely concentrate as I have nobody to compare with. 

After the first class, I signed up because I knew I’d benefit from the classes. Also, I’ve struggled with working from home so having Pilates included in the routine has helped me so much. 

Positioning is key

The class begins with positioning. I’ve been taking part in classes since October 2020, but this never fails to amaze me. Before now, I’ve never thought about how important the positioning of your arms, shoulders, neck, chin and PELVIS is. 

‘Pay attention to the pelvis’ ‘Has your pelvis moved?’ ‘Connect to the powerhouse’ 

Trust me, it makes a huge difference to exercises. 

Exercises 

As I’ve mentioned before, running makes me stiff and I really notice this during Pilates. Anthony is very good at clocking positions. Often, my shoulders are by my ears or neck pushed forwards. Straightaway, this is clocked and by simply dropping the shoulders and pulling my neck back, I can see an improvement. 

Also, after each exercise, we are asked to either hug our knees or stretch forward to provide relief. Anthony openly says, do whatever stretch you feel the body needs. It is your body. I think this is really important, even moving away from Pilates because it is important to listen to your body. 

More beneficial than an in-person class

Although we’re not in the class, it feels a lot like having a personal trainer in your living room…

Take the spine twist with saw movement. I’m going to be honest; I hate this exercise as I feel it challenges my shoulders and neck and struggle to keep my arms up. Again, Anthony clocks that I’m not twisting well and asks me to go back to the beginning. He tells me to straighten my back, put the crown of my head up to the ceiling with my neck and shoulders away from each other and gets me to twist. 

‘Keep twisting’ he says. I do feel better once my positioning is correct. For me, I think because I know it feels tight, I stop but in reality, keeping going is the best. I say I hate it, but my point is, even though instructors are not there in-person, it is good to know incorrect positions are still picked up. 

This goes back to what I’ve said previously that one of the reasons I’ve picked up Pilates is because I know the home workouts I was following were doing more harm than good. There is nobody telling you about positioning and also I’d probably always skip the exercises I found hard instead of giving them a go. 

Educational

I love the educational side of the classes too. There’s often a historical background of Joseph Pilates and how gravity wants to pull legs/arms down but there needs to be resistance to ensure strength can increase.

What I also like about the classes is that I never know what type they are going to be until the Zoom code is shared. 

‘You’ll need a chair’ / ‘You’ll need two tins’ 

Who needs gym equipment?! The chair ones are tough. Often, I run before Pilates so the chair move involves being on your tiptoes, half up and down and pulsing, that really burns. Also, the squats on my tip toes and pulsing it out is a killer. I’m yet to complete all reps of this but I’m slowly getting there. 

What I find interesting is the difference I feel when classes are either fast or slow paced. The slow paced class is where I notice my stiffness whereas during the high energic classes, I go with the flow and don’t think about moving to each exercise as much. The faster paced classes are my favourite, but it is still good to get the technicality of the moves correct during the slow classes. 

Two exercises I struggle with are the crab and teaser. I’m unable to get the balance or the strength to come back to my tailbone. Again, Anthony is aware of everybody’s level and never points out or puts pressure on people. He reiterates that we are all at different stages and we will improve and master eventually. Anthony also knows about any injuries and adapts exercises to suit the person. It’s great that nobody is being judged and you still feel you can join in.

Meditation 

We end the class with light meditation, enabling us to focus on breathing. What is really good for me is we are told when a thought enters our mind, to hold it there for a second and say ‘thinking’ before letting it leave. This sets me up for the day and is really good for my mind. 

Overall 

I am glad I’ve come across ALM Pilates so I’m able to progress with Pilates. Anthony is a great and calm teacher. I enjoy that I’m learning too. It is interesting to get the reasoning behind the importance of posture and why Pilates became a form of exercise. I don’t know what I’m going to do when I’ll have to go back into the office again. I hope there is flexibility so there is opportunity for people to continue to have the balance of exercise and work. It’s great for the mind.

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HOH Blog

This Girl Can Write

Did you see our first collaboration with Active Suffolk and their This Girl Can ambassadors?

Humans of HIIT was born as result of the pandemic. Motivation was low and routine non-existent. Humans of HIIT brings the motivation to be active through your inspirational stories and are pleased to have This Girl Can ambassadors involved. Collaborating with an organisation with similar values is a great way to inspire more of our community to participate in physical activity.

Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign aims to inspire women to take part in physical activity without the fear of judgement. Humans of HIIT want to encourage you to talk about health and wellbeing through inspirational stories and this is exactly what the This Girl Can ambassadors portray. There are currently 70 ambassadors who have each overcome barriers by doing physical activity and sport. If you are struggling with motivation, this collaboration will give you that much needed boost.

Between 3-9 August, Humans of HIIT shared inspirational stories from the ambassadors. Just like the Humans of HIIT community, the ambassadors highlight the positive impact physical activity has had on them.

This campaign has been particularly important during lockdown because research suggests women are not meeting the 150 minutes of moderate activity over five days. This Girl Can ambassador, Angela Soames felt she could no longer fit everything in. You are probably feeling the same and we hope the stories will inspire you to undertake activities. If you are not sure where to begin, the Humans of HIIT community have regular workouts for you to follow in your own time. No matter your ability, there is an activity out there for you.

The Campaign also celebrates how Ambassadors like Charlotte have overcome barriers relating to mental health. Charlotte opens up about how her fitness levels dropped as she suffered with PTSD but is now walking and horse riding again and like Humans of HIIT, wants to inspire others to overcome barriers.

We hope the stories will encourage you to look at ways to include physical activity into your ‘new normal’ and show you are not alone. We are only human and our stories are from real people who open up about their health and wellbeing and how physical activity has helped them. We want to be an open and honest community to positively help one another.

Check out the full Campaign here! (https://www.activesuffolk.org/news/2020/08/this-girl-can-ambassadors-from-suffolk-share-inspirational-stories-as-part-of-an-exciting-new-collaboration)

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HOH Blog

Why I picked up a Pilates in the middle of a global pandemic…

A blog written by a member of the Humans of HIIT community.

A 3km run a couple of times a week was always enough for me. Then, routine faded away.

But, exercise soon became my routine and coping mechanism. 

With all this free time we’ve had, many of us turned to new hobbies. For me, this time has been used to increase running distance and improve pace. Running has always been my way to switch off and having to unexpectedly move away from London during lockdown, focusing on new goals has been a great escapism. 

Perhaps I did push myself too quick, but straightaway I was running 5km five days a week. As a result of (and the sofa working from home setup I have going on), my body became stiff and was a barrier to further development. My solution was following a stretching video, albeit most likely incorrectly. 

‘We’re back, fancy giving it a go?’ 

Those words caught my eye on my usual scrolling through social media. This was an advertisement for a local Reformer Pilates class. Intrigued by this, I tagged my friend. 

‘I can book you in for a trial if you want?’ 

I thought why not. After a straightforward message providing the instructor with email addresses, my friend and I were booked in.  

A few days before the class, the instructor shared ‘Strong Reformer’ and ‘Cardio Reformer’ Pilates videos. This made me nervous because I hoped the class wouldn’t be full of strong people, making it obvious I was a beginner. My nerves were soon settled after talking it through with my friend. 

The trial day…

My morning run wasn’t the best. BUT! I remembered I had the class in the evening. This is the first time I looked forward to it. I met with my friend a couple of hours before to have a light bite. We weren’t sure where the studio was so meeting in plenty of time was good to be able to suss this out. 

When we arrived, there was a class finishing up. Straightaway, the instructor and other people in the class welcomed us. We were asked to sign a consent form outlining potential risks and advised to declare relevant medical history. 

On top of the nerves of trying something new, there is the added risk of Covid-19. All the safety precautions were in place and machines were cleaned prior to use. 

We were assigned a machine and the instructor spent time going through how to change weights. The instructor told us not to worry if we got stuck. Each exercise required a different weight. If we felt this was too much, there was no pressure to stick at a lower weight. Exercises were aimed at legs, arms, glute muscles, shoulders, abs etc. 

Most exercises were repeated on both sides. Quite early on in the class, I noticed I was weak when exercises involved my right side. This was picked up by the instructor who explained our bodies have stronger sides and Pilates aim to balance this. I didn’t know our bodies had a weaker side and thought to myself, whilst I’ve come to strengthen my body, I could also learn about my body too. My weight was reduced and was reassured this will improve.  

45 minutes of exercises was followed by a 15 minute warm down consisting of leg and arm stretches to remove stiffness. I felt relief, especially in my upper body as I tense my shoulders when running. 

For me, I learn best visually which I think is why I enjoyed the class so much. The instructor showed us how to do every exercise. As I said before, I was probably doing the home stretching videos incorrectly; the instructor told me if there were any exercises I was doing wrong. 

I often compare myself to others and found I did in this class. This is something I need to work on and have to remember everyone starts somewhere and others would have been in my position at some point. 

Pretty much from the start of the class, I knew I wanted to continue. After the trial, I approached the instructor to ask about class times and payment. The instructor explained there is an app advertising classes and you can pay via your phone. My friend and I have signed up for two further classes and I’ve signed up for a class on my own. I knew I’d be fine once I had sussed it out. 

I feel great and I know it will help build my strength and improve my posture. I’ll report back to you in about a month on my progress with Pilates and to see if I notice a difference in my running.

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HOH Blog

Something New

Humans of HIIT Founder Alex here and I’m trying something new! 

Am I good enough? Will I be taken seriously? Will I fail? 

The usual questions I  have used in a professional setting to  understand the barriers to sport participation and to develop techniques to motivate others to be active. From managing participation programmes to challenging myself ‘on the field’, I have always thought of myself as confident in the world of sport. 

Now, the unknown feeling of my new venture makes me feel anxious. It’s been a long time since I have felt this way and for the first time, I am asking myself these questions. If anything, I can now relate even more to those who are scared. 

I believe in my ability and passion for helping people get into sport or starting a fitness journey but, there has been one factor that has made this possible, SUPPORT.

From my amazing friends, family, fiancé and YOU, the Humans of HIIT community. 

This is what this movement is all about. Supporting others to be active. We share stories, have fun, start healthy conversations and give people the support they need to start an activity. 

So why create a blog? As Humans of HIIT rapidly evolves, I want the community to be at the core so I will be updating you every step of the way. Also, I want to share cool things from within the world of physical activity and working out. 

 

What is coming up? 

The podcast and collaborative story partnerships are well under way! Currently, we are finalising the podcast graphics and then they’ll be ready for release! Our guests are being kept top secret because our big reveal is going to be awesome. 

We are currently working on a new campaign with @Vybe365 and I can’t wait for this to be shared in the near future. 

 

Want to feel inspired? 

A cool clip I want to share with you is from the BBC and Madu Mmesoma Anthony, an inspirational 11 year old ballet dancer. He demonstrates there are no barriers when you are doing something you love. There are also lessons to be learnt from his mother’s supportive words at the end.

Check it out! 

 

A Recommendation

I’ve got to say, I turned my nose up when I heard Primark were doing fitness bits but I’ve got to say, this skipping rope is really good! For £3 you get a very decent skipping rope for beginners and it lets you adjust the length in case you are on the shorter size like  Becca. Not all jump ropes let you do that!

 

Future Blogs

These will be written by the amazing Caroline. She is a new member of the team who shares our passion for engaging people in physical activity whilst also being a talented writer. I can’t wait to share all the cool articles she’s writing!