(Australian Associated Press)
FIVE SPORTS HAVE BEEN ADDED TO THE OLYMPIC PROGRAM FOR THE 2020 TOKYO GAMES, FOUR FOR THE FIRST TIME, WHILE BASEBALL/SOFTBALL RETURNS AFTER A 12-YEAR ABSENCE
Tsurigasaki Beach could very well join the long list of Olympic venues to play host to an iconic Australian sporting moment. Seven-time world champ Stephanie Gilmore and Sally Fitzgibbons should both be great gold-medal shots in the women’s event. It’s still far from clear which Australian men will get the nod.
Australia has a great history of excelling when new-age disciplines are added to the schedule for the Summer and Winter Olympics – such as BMX racing and freestyle skiing. Teenagers Keegan Palmer and Hayley Wilson shape as genuine podium contenders in the men’s park and women’s street events respectively.
Difficult to predict what will happen here, as the Olympic event is a combination of three distinct disciplines – speed, bouldering and lead. Should favour athletes from Japan, the United States and Europe.
Would be a shock if the host nation didn’t dominate proceedings at the historic Nippon Budokan. No guarantee that Australia will even be represented.
Australia won silver at Athens 2004 in baseball – a sport as popular in Japan as it is in the US and Central America. The Australian women’s softball team have claimed four medals at previous Games, but have yet to top the podium. Need to qualify for both tournaments.
AUSTRALIA AT THE SUMMER OLYMPICS SINCE 1992
Barcelona 1992: 290 athletes. Seven golds, nine silvers, 11 bronzes. 27 overall medals. 10th on medals table.
Atlanta 1996: 424 athletes. Nine golds, nine silvers, 23 bronzes. 41 overall medals. Seventh on medals table.
Sydney 2000: 630 athletes. 16 golds, 25 silvers, 17 bronzes. 58 overall medals. Fourth on medals table.
Athens 2004: 482 athletes. 17 golds, 16 silvers, 17 bronzes. 50 overall medals. Fourth on medals table.
Beijing 2008: 433 athletes. 14 golds, 15 silvers, 17 bronzes. 46 overall medals. Sixth on medals table
London 2012: 410 athletes. Eight golds, 15 silvers, 12 bronzes. 35 overall medals. Eighth on medals table
Rio 2016: 422 athletes. Eight golds, 11 silvers, 10 bronzes. 29 overall medals. 10th on medals table