- 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.
- 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 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 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.
- 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 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
- 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 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
- 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.
- 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 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 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.