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The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games have many curiosities.
From the inclusion of new sports such as karate, surfing and skateboarding, to the use of innovative technologies that show up to the athletes’ beats and the decision of a more “green” policy with cardboard beds and medals made of recyclable materials, for example. .
All this in the midst of a pandemic that delayed the Olympic Games by a year, although it retains the name of Tokyo 2020.
Among the characteristics related to this world sports competition, there are a few activities that exclusively involve women.
There are three sports at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games that are only played by female athletes.
Here we tell you what they are and why they are unique for women.
It is a mix between art and sport.
Synchronized or artistic swimming is a women’s Olympic discipline that combines technical perfection, synchronization, choreography, interpretation and emotion, describes the official site of Tokyo 2020.
Using music, teams must complete two routines. One of technique, with five figures designated in a maximum of two minutes and 50 seconds and a free one that should last between three or four minutes.
The key requirement of this sport is that female swimmers must perform movements while holding your breath.
But it was not always carried out by women.
According to the official site of the games, artistic swimming emerged from the theatrical aquatic ballets of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, adapting rescue and swimming techniques.
The first competitions had male swimmers, but over time synchronized swimming became associated with women after an exhibition by Australian Annette Kellerman in a water tank at the New York racecourse in 1907.
Artistic swimming was included for the first time in the 1984 Los Angeles Games.
Currently, actions are graded taking into account the timing, difficulty, technique and choreography. It is even important how much the swimmers splash when they hit the water with their hands.
The competitors from China and Japan are the leaders in this sport. But Russian, Spanish, French, Ukrainian, American and Canadian swimmers also stand out.
The essence of rhythmic gymnastics is concentration, coordination and control.
In their interpretation, the athletes combine the launch of an object into the air -which can be a ball or a hoop, among others- while they perform jumps, turns or acrobatic routines, and then catch it.
This Olympic sport is rated by the artistic level of their performances, which are accompanied by music and the skill with which difficult maneuvers are performed with the apparatus.
The roots of rhythmic or artistic gymnastics are found in the ideas of movement and aesthetics of the 19th and early 20th centuries, points out the official site of Tokyo 2020. And it was always linked to women.
The first World Championship was held in Hungary in 1963. And the first time it was included in the Olympic Games was in Los Angeles 1984.
Rhythmic gymnastics, being based on the European traditions of dance and ballet, it is not surprising that it is dominated by athletes from that continent such as Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian gymnasts who regularly win medals.
At the Olympic level, rhythmic gymnastics is only practiced by women, but in countries like Spain there are male gymnasts.
The novelty of softball is that, next to baseball, be present againin some Olympic Games. The last time was in Beijing 2008.
Softball was introduced as an Olympic competitive sport exclusively in the women’s category in Atlanta 1996.
Japan decided to reintroduce both softball and baseball for Tokyo 2020 as they are extremely popular sports in Japanese culture.
The basics of both sports are straightforward. Run after hitting the ball with the bat, go all the bases and score a run.
The key difference between baseball and softball is that, in the former, the pitcher throws the ball over the arm, while in the latter, he throws the ball under the arm or hip.
Softball is also played on a smaller playing field, with a shorter distance between the pitcher and the batter than in baseball. And the ball is bigger and heavier.
It is believed that softball was born in the United States as a version of baseball to be able to play in the off-season.
In the Olympic field, softball is only played by women because it was introduced as the female version of baseball, since this was not included in the program.
And clearly the American team is the one who dominates the sport.
However, the Japanese women’s team is not far behind and in this Tokyo 2020 they won the gold medal.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.