After a year delay, the Tokyo Summer Olympics are about to begin. Excitement abounds for over 200 countries competing and for many there will be new sports to conquer. Surfing, karate, sport climbing and skateboarding will all make their debuts.
At Bristol’s Muzzy Field Park, Thursday, there were dozens of skaters. They were carving turns, riding rails, and dropping into bowls. All were honing their skills and looking forward to watching their sport highlighted in Tokyo.
“Skateboarding in the Olympics is awesome,” said Justin Walsh, who has been skateboarding for three decades and was there with his 8-year old son Quade.
Among those going for skateboarding gold is Alexis Sablone from Old Saybrook. She and others are the reason avid boarders are stoked to watch.
“I’m just watching for some gnarly skaters. I want to see them shred it up. I want to see skaters I’ve never seen before,” said Jared Stinney.
Also added to the Olympics is a sport that adds a little kick and some punch to the games: karate. Master instructor, Efrain Valentin says this gives his students something to emulate.
“This gives these kids an opportunity to say, we can shoot for something a little bit bigger,” Valentin explained.
That’s exactly the case for 12-year-old brown-red belt student Evan Furdeck, who trains at Valentin’s Meriden location.
“I want to see if there’s anyone I can look up to and try to match the skills of,” said Furdeck.
The Olympics by definition are about athletes reaching great heights. This year there’s a sport that literally requires that: sport climbing. In Wallingford today, amateur climbers were excited, perhaps mostly by the aspect known as bouldering.
“You’ll see people flipping upside down and hanging by their feet and doing things like that,” said Matt Roscetti who owns the Prime Climb indoor climbing gym.
So, in the hours before the Tokyo torch is lit, you can add surfers, climbers, karate students and the skaters to those who consider the Olympics, must-see TV.
“Absolutely, I’m going to tune in. I can’t wait to watch it,” said Walsh.
Several other sports have added new disciplines, including 3-on-3 basketball and BMX freestyle. Baseball and softball are also returning after being absent since 2008.
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