Why Tokyo 2020 will be the biggest: The complete list of sports and medals on offer

The Tokyo Olympics will feature 33 different sports - five more than Rio 2016.
By Aarish Ansari

Since the inception of the modern Olympics in 1896, the number of sports in the Summer Games program has gradually increased.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) modifies the Olympic program for every edition, keeping in mind the changing trends, the evolution of existing sports in the itinerary and the popularity of a particular discipline in the host nation.

While the inaugural Athens 1896 Games involved only nine sports and 43 events, Tokyo 2020 will feature 33 sports and a whopping 339 medal events, making it the biggest Olympic program till date.

At Tokyo 2020, the IOC has included four new sports - karate, surfing, skateboarding and sport climbing. Baseball and softball are making a return to the Olympic list.

Here is a list of all the disciplines at the Tokyo Olympics.

Aquatics

At Tokyo 2020, aquatics will have 49 events including swimming (freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, individual medley, freestyle relay and medley relay) across various distances.

Marathon swimming is also included along with diving (springboard, platform, and synchronised). Artistic swimming comprises duet and team events while water polo is also a part of the Aquatics program.

India will be represented in 200m butterfly (men’s) and 100m backstroke (men and women’s).

Archery

Archery at Tokyo will have five events including individual, team and mixed team competitions.

Indians have qualified in the men’s individual, men’s team, women’s individual and mixed team events.

Athletics

Athletics will have 48 different events at Tokyo and is divided into three broad categories - track and field, road running and road walking.

The track and field events list comprises running, hurdles, steeplechase, relay, high jump, pole vault, long jump, triple jump, shot put, discus throw, hammer throw, javelin throw and decathlon.

The marathon and race walk, meanwhile, are competed on open roads instead of a stadium and make up the road events.

At Tokyo, India will have a presence in 20km race walking (men and women’s), 50km race walking (men’s), 100m (women’s), 200m (women’s), 3000m steeplechase (men’s), long jump (men’s), 400m hurdles (men’s), javelin throw (men and women’s), shot put (men’s), discus throw (women’s), 4x400 relay (men’s and mixed).

Badminton

At Tokyo 2020, five badminton events - singles and doubles events for both men and women and mixed doubles - will be held.

Four Indian badminton players have qualified and will compete in men's and women's singles and men’s doubles.

Baseball and Softball

Both baseball and softball are making a return to the Games after being dropped from the program in 2008 (Beijing Games).

Baseball will be a men’s only event while softball will only be played by women in Tokyo.

Basketball

Basketball made its debut at the 1936 Olympics with the men’s event and has consistently featured in all subsequent Games. The women’s competition was added by the IOC in 1976.

In Tokyo, basketball will have both men’s and women’s events along with the debut of the 3x3 event for both genders.

Boxing

Boxing in Tokyo 2020 will be competed in different weight divisions and will have 13 events - eight in men’s and five women’s. 

Indian pugilists will be involved in seven weight classes - 69kg (men and women’s), 75 kg (men and women’s), 63kg (men’s), 60 kg (women’s), 51kg (women’s), 52kg (men’s) and +91kg (men’s).

Canoeing

Canoeing is divided into two categories - slalom and sprint - which are divided into 16 events in total.

Slalom will have four kayak and canoe events while sprint features 12 medal events.

Cycling

A total of 22 medal events across five disciplines will be held in cycling at Tokyo 2020, with BMX freestyle being the latest addition.

The other disciplines are BMX racing, mountain bike, road events (road race and individual time trial) and track events (sprint, team sprint, keirin, team pursuit, omnium, madison).

Equestrianism

Equestrianism is one of the few open sports where men and women compete together with parity. In Tokyo, eventing, dressage and jumping are the three events which will be on display. These are further divided into individual and team events.

For the first time in 20 years, India will be represented in equestrianism (individual eventing).

Fencing

Fencing features three different sections - épée, foil and sabre. The three feature individual and team competitions for both men and women, adding up to 12 events in total.

For the first time in its history, India will have a representative in fencing (sabre).

Football

Two events - men’s and women’s tournaments - will be a part of football at Tokyo 2020. 

Brazil are the men’s defending champions and Germany are the title holders in the women’s event.

Golf

Golf at Tokyo 2020 will have both men’s and women’s events.

India has two representatives in the men’s tournament and a single contender for women’s.

Gymnastics

Gymnastics will have three sections (artistic, rhythmic and trampoline) in Tokyo.

The artistic discipline includes vault, floor exercise, team and all-around events for both men and women along with pommel horse, rings, parallel bars and horizontal bar for men and uneven bars and balance beam for women.

Rhythmic gymnastics will have two events (individual all-around, group all-around) only for women while trampoline is open to both men and women.

Only one Indian woman artistic gymnast has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.

Handball

Handball will be making its 14th appearance at the Games. Denmark and ROC are the defending champions in the men’s and women’s competitions, respectively.

Hockey

Like other big team events, hockey will also have separate competitions for men and women.

Both men’s and women’s teams from India have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.

Judo

Judokas will compete in 14 individual categories depending on their weights. A mixed team event also features in the list.

India will be represented in the women's extra-lightweight (48kg) division.

Karate

Karate will be making its Olympic debut in Tokyo and has two disciplines.

The solo discipline, Kata, has one event each for men and women while Kumite, which involves sparring, is divided into weight-classes and comprises six events in all.

Modern Pentathlon

Modern pentathlon is a combination of five different sports.

Athletes need to complete a course involving fencing, swimming, equestrian, shooting and running in a single day. Men and women will compete separately in two events at the upcoming Games.

Rowing

At Tokyo 2020, 14 rowing events - seven each for men and women - include pair, double sculls, four, single sculls, lightweight double sculls, quadruple sculls and eight.

Indian rowers have qualified for the men’s lightweight double sculls event.

Rugby

The Rugby Sevens will be making its second Olympic appearance and will include a men’s and women’s competition in Tokyo.

Sailing

Sailing will have 10 medal events at Tokyo, categorised according to the type of boat and the number of athletes involved.

The men will compete in five events - windsurfer - RS:X, one person dinghy - laser, one person dinghy (heavyweight ) - finn, two person dinghy - 470 and skiff - 49er.

The women will have four events - windsurfer - RS:X, one person dinghy - laser radial, two person dinghy - 470 and skiff - 49er FX, along with a mixed team event of multihull - nacra 17 foiling.

Three Indian sailors will take part in sailing (laser radial, laser standard and 49er) at Tokyo Olympics.

Shooting

Shooting at Tokyo will feature 15 events. There are six events each for both men and women (both individual and team) and three mixed team events.

The individual events are 10m air rifle, 50m rifle 3 positions, 10m air pistol, 25m rapid fire pistol (men’s only), 25m pistol (women’s only), trap and skeet.

The mixed team events include 10m air rifle, 10m air pistol and trap.

A total of 15 Indian shooters will be taking aim in Tokyo.

Skateboarding

One of the new entrants in the Olympic program, skateboarding will have street and park events for both men and women.

Sport climbing

Another sport that makes its debut at Tokyo is sport climbing. The format involves three sections (lead climbing, speed climbing and bouldering) combined into one event. Men and women will compete separately.

Surfing

Surfing will also become a new Olympic sport at Tokyo 2020 and will be hosted at Shidashita Beach. Only shortboards will be used by athletes in the two events for men and women.

Table Tennis

Table tennis will feature singles and team events for men and women along with a mixed team event.

Four Indians will compete in three events - men and women’s singles and mixed doubles.

Taekwondo

In Tokyo, taekwondo will have eight medal events. There are four weight divisions for men and as many for women.

Tennis

The five Olympic medal events in tennis are singles and doubles for men and women and mixed doubles.

India will feature in the women’s doubles.

Triathlon

The individual events for men and women and a mixed relay will make up the three triathlon events at Tokyo 2020.

Volleyball

Volleyball in Tokyo will include two variants - beach volleyball and volleyball. The sport will have four medal events (two for each gender).

Weightlifting

A total of 14 gold medals will be up for grabs in weightlifting at the Tokyo Games. The events are classified by weight divisions and gender.

India will have a solitary athlete competing in the women's 49kg division.

Wrestling

Both Greco-Roman (men’s only) and freestyle wrestling (for both men and women) disciplines are on the Tokyo 2020 menu. Greco- Roman has six weight classes while freestyle wrestling, too, features six weight classes each for men and women.

Seven Indian freestyle wrestlers have qualified for the Games.