It’s been a long and complicated journey, but the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are almost here — and we are starting to get excited about the martial arts events!
The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will run from Friday, July 23 to Sunday, August 8 and will feature 339 competitors/nations? in 33 sports. Six of those will be martial arts or combat sports. Boxing, Fencing, Judo, Taekwondo, and Wrestling are all returning for this edition of the games. And this year, they’ll be joined by Karate.
To get in the Olympic spirit, let’s take a deeper look at these six Olympic martial arts.
Boxing was a fixture of the original Olympics games and men’s boxing has been a part of the modern games since 1904. Women’s boxing was finally made an official Olympic sport in 2012 and has been a popular event ever since.
For the majority of Olympic history, boxing was strictly limited to amateur athletes. That rule changed in 2016 to allow pro boxers to compete as well.
Events: Men’s Fly (48-52kg), Feather (52-57kg), Light (57-63kg), Welter (63-69kg), Middle (69-75kg), Light Heavy (75-81kg), Heavy (81-91kg), and Super Heavy (+91kg). Women’s Fly (48-51kg), Feather (54-57kg), Light (57-60kg), Welter (64-69kg), and Middle (69-75kg).
When: Preliminaries begin on July 24 and the finals run from August 3-8. For the full schedule, click here.
Modern fencing’s status as a martial art is a matter of great debate. But it does classify as a combat sport, and does involve the highly skilled use of swords, so we’re including it as an Olympic event of interest here.
The first men’s individual fencing events were held at the 1896 Olympics. The first women’s individual events were featured in the 1924 games. Over the years, more individual and team disciplines have been added.
Events: Individual Men’s Foil, Individual Men’s Epée, Individual Men’s Sabre, Individual Women’s Foil, Individual Women’s Epée, Individual Women’s Sabre, Team Men’s Foil, Team Men’s Epée, Team Men’s Sabre, Team Women’s Foil, Team Women’s Epée, and Team Women’s Sabre.
When: Fencing competitions begin on July 24 and wrap up on August 1. For the full schedule, click here.
Judo is a fairly recent addition to the Olympics. Men’s competition debuted at the Tokyo 1964 games. Women’s Judo was introduced in 1992. At the 2020 games, Judo will enjoy a homecoming of sorts. It will be held in the exact same world famous martial arts venue where the original Judo competition took place: the Nippon Budokan.
Events: Men 60kg, 66kg, 73kg, 81, kg, 90 kg, 100 kg, and 100+ kg. Women 48kg, 52kg, 57kg, 63kg, 70kg, 78kg, and 78+kg. There is also a mixed team event.
When: July 24-31. For the full schedule, click here.
The way of kicking and punching is an even more recent addition to the Olympics than the gentle way. After appearing as a demonstration sport in 1988 and 1992, Taekwondo became a full medal sport in 2000. Its popularity among viewers and young athletes has been growing ever since.
Events: Men’s 58kg, 68kg, 80kg, and 80+kg. Women’s 49kg, 57kg, 67kg, and 67+kg.
When: July 24-27. Click here for the full schedule.
One of the most iconic events in Olympic history, wrestling was a part of the original games in 708 BC. Greco-Roman was also an event in the first edition of the modern Olympics in 1896. Men’s freestyle wrestling was added in 1904 and Women’s freestyle wrestling was finally included in 2004.
Events: Men’sGreco-Roman 60kg, 67kg, 77kg, 87kg, 97kg, and 130kg. Men’s Freestyle 57kg, 65kg, 74kg, 86kg, 97kg, and 125kg. Women’s Freestyle 50kg, 53kg, 57kg, 62kg, 68kg, and 76kg.
When: August 1-7. Click here for the full schedule.
Last but certainly not least is the newest Olympic martial arts event! Fifty years after officials began the efforts toward its inclusion, Karate will make its debut as an Olympic event. It is one of five additional sports that the International Olympic Committee approved for this edition of the games. (For more information on Karate’s long journey toward the Olympics, check out our previous blogs on the topic.)
Karate will be joining Judo at the legendary Nippon Budokan. Both Kata (forms) and Kumite (sparring) will be represented in competition.
Events: Men’s Kata. Women’s Kata. Men’s Kumite -67kg, -75kg, and +75kg. Women’s Kumite -55kg, -61kg, and +61kg.
When: August 5-7. Click here for the full schedule.