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Thread: 2020 Tokyo Olympics

  1. #106
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    5 new sports!

    Karate is looking good


    IOC/CHRISTOPHE MORATAL
    DATE 01 JUN 2016


    IOC EXECUTIVE BOARD SUPPORTS TOKYO 2020 PACKAGE OF NEW SPORTS FOR IOC SESSION


    THE EXECUTIVE BOARD (EB) OF THE INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE (IOC) TODAY SUPPORTED THE PROPOSAL TO ADD THE PACKAGE OF FIVE NEW SPORTS TO THE PROGRAMME OF THE OLYMPIC GAMES TOKYO 2020. IF APPROVED AT THE 129TH IOC SESSION IN RIO DE JANEIRO IN AUGUST, THE CHANGE WOULD BE THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE EVOLUTION OF THE OLYMPIC PROGRAMME IN MODERN HISTORY.

    The five sports — karate, skateboarding, sports climbing, surfing and baseball/softball — offer a key focus on youth, which is at the heart of the Games vision for Tokyo 2020. They represent a combination of well-established and emerging sports with significant popularity in Japan and beyond. They include team sports and individual sports; indoor sports and outdoor sports; and ‘urban’ sports with a strong appeal to youth.

    The package of five sports will now be submitted to the IOC Session. These sports are considered on top of the athlete and event quota recommendations for Olympic sports outlined in Olympic Agenda 2020, and will not take places away from athletes in existing Olympic sports. Discussions on the event programme in the existing 28 Olympic sports for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 are ongoing, and will be finalised by the IOC Executive Board in mid-2017.

    The Organising Committee for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 proposed the new sports in response to the new flexibility provided by Olympic Agenda 2020, the IOC’s strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement, to encourage innovation in the Olympic programme. Olympic Agenda 2020 gives host cities the option of suggesting new sports and events for inclusion in their edition of the Games.

    The host city selections are not binding on future Games hosts.

    The inclusion of the new sports would add 18 events and 474 athletes to the Olympic programme in Tokyo, without impacting existing sports. The package promotes gender equality, with each of the five sports having equal numbers of teams for men and women, while also focusing on innovative and exciting sports for Japan and the wider international community.

    ###

    The International Olympic Committee is a not-for-profit independent international organisation made up of volunteers, which is committed to building a better world through sport. It redistributes more than 90 per cent of its income to the wider sporting movement, which means that every day the equivalent of USD 3.25 million goes to help athletes and sports organisations at all levels around the world.

    ###

    For more information, please contact the IOC Media Relations Team:
    Tel: +41 21 621 6000 email: pressoffice@olympic.org, or visit our website at www.olympic.org.

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  2. #107
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    Karate is in

    [IMG]https://stillmed.olympic.org/media/Images/OlympicOrg/News/2016/08/03/2016-08-03-five-sports-tokyo-thumbnail.jpg?interpolation=lanczos-none&fit=around|1060:600&crop=1060:600;*,*[/IMG]
    IAN JONES/IOC
    DATE 03 AUG 2016
    IOC APPROVES FIVE NEW SPORTS FOR OLYMPIC GAMES TOKYO 2020

    THE INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE (IOC) TODAY AGREED TO ADD BASEBALL/SOFTBALL, KARATE, SKATEBOARD, SPORTS CLIMBING AND SURFING TO THE SPORTS PROGRAMME FOR THE OLYMPIC GAMES TOKYO 2020.

    The decision by the 129th IOC Session in Rio de Janeiro was the most comprehensive evolution of the Olympic programme in modern history. Plans call for staging the skateboarding and sports climbing events in temporary venues installed in urban settings, marking a historic step in bringing the Games to young people and reflecting the trend of urbanisation of sport.

    The Organising Committee for the Tokyo 2020 Games proposed the five new sports in response to the new flexibility provided by Olympic Agenda 2020.

    Today’s vote was the culmination of a two-year process that began with the unanimous approval of the IOC’s strategic roadmap in 2014. The recommendation to give Organising Committees the flexibility to propose new sports for their edition of the Games was intended to put even more focus on innovation, flexibility and youth in the development Olympic programme.

    Tokyo 2020, the first Organising Committee able to take advantage of the change, submitted its proposal for the five new sports to the IOC in September 2015.

    IOC President Thomas Bach said, “We want to take sport to the youth. With the many options that young people have, we cannot expect any more that they will come automatically to us. We have to go to them. Tokyo 2020’s balanced proposal fulfils all of the goals of the Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendation that allowed it. Taken together, the five sports are an innovative combination of established and emerging, youth-focused events that are popular in Japan and will add to the legacy of the Tokyo Games.”

    Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori said, “The inclusion of the package of new sports will afford young athletes the chance of a lifetime to realise their dreams of competing in the Olympic Games – the world's greatest sporting stage – and inspire them to achieve their best, both in sport and in life.”

    The additional sports in Tokyo will not impact the athlete or event quotas of existing Olympic sports or be binding on future host cities. The current athlete and event quotas are unaffected.

    The IOC considered a variety of factors when assessing the proposal, including the impact on gender equality, the youth appeal of the sports and the legacy value of adding them to the Tokyo Games.

    The inclusion of the new sports will add 18 events and 474 athletes, with equal numbers of women and men for all sports except baseball/softball, which will have the same number of teams but different player totals, because softball teams have 15 players whilst baseball teams have 24. Tokyo 2020 will rely heavily on existing and temporary venues to stage the competitions.

    Discussions on the event programme in the existing 28 Olympic sports for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 are ongoing, and will be finalised by the IOC Executive Board in mid-2017.

    ###

    The International Olympic Committee is a not-for-profit independent international organisation made up of volunteers, which is committed to building a better world through sport. It redistributes more than 90 per cent of its income to the wider sporting movement, which means that every day the equivalent of USD 3.25 million goes to help athletes and sports organisations at all levels around the world.

    ###

    For more information, please contact the IOC Media Relations Team:
    Tel: +41 21 621 6000 email: pressoffice@olympic.org, or visit our website at www.olympic.org.

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    Photos
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    To request archive photos and footage, please contact our Images team at: images@olympic.org.

    Social media
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    Beijing is probably annoyed at this.
    Gene Ching
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  3. #108
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    I support Sanda to be included in the Olympic Games. With some adaptation in training, many martial stylists (including Taekwondo) can then compete in the event. Let's keep up with our effort and hope to make it a reality in the near future.



    Regards,

    KC
    Hong Kong

  4. #109
    Greetings,

    They should simply categorize the combative sports under the word which happens to be the modern variant of a much older term: Pankration.

    mickey

  5. #110
    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    Beijing is probably annoyed at this.
    They (Beijing) should be. Wushu already has a worldwide structure and organization for competition. Wushu is better for spectators to watch, and Sanda is way more exciting than point sparring kumite. The IOC f*cked up. They should have included Wushu before Karate if they want to attract a younger audience.

  6. #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by MightyB View Post
    They (The IOC ) should have included Wushu before Karate if they want to attract a younger audience.
    We cannot turn back the clock. China started to open up and develop in the early 1980s. But Karate was already an event in the Olympic Games then.




    Regards,

    KC
    Hong Kong

  7. #112
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    For the record...

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveLau View Post
    I support Sanda to be included in the Olympic Games.
    Quote Originally Posted by MightyB View Post
    Wushu is better for spectators to watch, and Sanda is way more exciting than point sparring kumite.
    Sanda has never been part of Wushu's bid to be part of the Olympic Games. Only Taolu.
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  8. #113
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    Becoming an Olympic sport may not be great for karate, if what's happened to TKD is any indication. But as long as they don't mess it up (i.e., "Olympicize" it) too much, it'll probably still remain better than Olympic TKD.

    As far as wushu taolu ever being accepted into the Olympics, even though they seem perfectly suitable for Olympic-style competition, IMO that would only provide further confirmation in the minds of non-CMAists (and non-MAists in general) that CMA are only flashy dance/performance routines with no martial applications whatsoever.
    Last edited by Jimbo; 08-30-2016 at 08:39 AM.

  9. #114
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    Forgive me but...

    ... I just can't get past the title "WTF Brain Trust Huddles...."

    Game Changers: WTF Brain Trust Huddles in Seoul to Upgrade Taekwondo Before Tokyo 2020



    SEOUL, Korea (October 17, 2016) – How to upgrade the game? This is arguably the biggest question facing taekwondo as it enters the long cycle of preparation for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.

    Fortunately, there are precedents, as, for much of its history, the WTF has been introducing changes and innovations.

    Following the 2008 Beijing Olympics – plagued by controversies over scoring and refereeing – the sport’s future on the Olympic program was in jeopardy. The WTF instituted a reform drive. The mission was clear: Improve the transparency and fairness of the game.

    The key breakthrough to realize this was the introduction of the electronic protector and scoring system (PSS). The PSS makes all points scored immediately visible to the crowd, while obviating human error in judging. Referee training and education was massively upgraded and the Instant Video Replay system was introduced. Thanks to these developments, taekwondo was controversy-free in London 2012 and Rio 2016 and is now a firm fixture on the Summer Games program.

    But there have been drawbacks. The PSS – like all technologies – is imperfect. It has also altered the way the game is played: With the power component removed, taekwondo has gone from knockout mode to point-scoring mode. This has resulted in a cleft between “old school” taekwondo – the powerhouse contact sport of the past – and “new school” taekwondo – the modern, tactical game, which prioritizes front foot kicks and favors tall, skinny players.

    Even many exponents of “new school” saw they prefer “old school” techniques and fighters, who tend to be head-hunters and spin-kickers. But “new school” dominates the medal tables. Even elite exponents of “old school” taekwondo – who include some of the most crowd-pleasing fighters in the game, such as Moldova’s Aaron Cook and Turkey’s Servet Tazegul – find it hard to win with traditional fighting style in the current rules and gear.

    This is not to say that Rio was dull: In fact, there were some classic finals – such as the Jordan’s Ahmad Abughaush versus Russia’s Alexey Denisenko and Great Britain’s Jade Jones vs. Spain’s Eva Calvo Gomez – and incredible crowd support. But with the 2016 Games over, a four-year window of opportunity has opened for the WTF to make changes and re-inject spectacle back into the game. The aim is for taekwondo at Tokyo 2020 to be not only fair and transparent, but also to dazzle and excite.

    If that happens, it will open the way for taekwondo to be not just the hugely successful participation sport which it is – the WTF has 80 million members globally – but also a global spectator sport. Once crowds increase, global media will get into the action and elite fighters and teams will benefit from enriched sponsorship opportunities.

    So, there is much at stake. The game-changing process gets underway when the WTF invites its top coaches and executives to a five-day brainstorm in Seoul on Oct. 17th.

    “The Rio Olympics was a continuation of transparent and successful taekwondo competition from London 2012 and we need to prepare for the coming Tokyo 2020. In order to make a better sport, it is very important to hear opinions from you in order to make the best game,” said WTF President Chungwon Choue in the opening speech.

    From Oct. 17th-21st the first-ever WTF Coach Seminar will take place, with 30 top coaches invited from around the world. “The coaches can ask questions of the WTF on the policy side – this is the first time we have given them a platform to speak for themselves,” said WTF Director General Jin-bang Yang. “The WTF expects more of these opportunities, so coaches will have more chance to influence policy – especially Competition Rules, championship management, and ranking and qualification policy.”

    The coaching seminar will be one component of the WTF Coach Forum, which will take place at the same time and same location, with members of the WTF Technical Committee giving presentations and holding dialogs with the coaches. Changes will be discussed in four categories: competition rules; systems (such as rankings and qualification); image of the game (such as uniform designs and sport presentation); and PSS. “Those are the main areas of business,” said Yang. “Changes to rules and systems are things we can change in a short time, so we will concentrate on discussing these two. The other things will take more time.”

    On Oct 20th, having exchanged ideas and elicited feedback from the coaches, the Technical Committee will present proposed changes to top-level WTF executives – the organization’s president, secretary general, director generals and Continental Union presidents. The ideas that both parties – the technical committee and the executive team– agree upon will be presented to the WTF General Assembly in Burnaby, Canada in November, on the sidelines of the World Taekwondo Junior Championships.

    Those changes voted in will be applied at WTF championships from 2017. For more on how these important developments unfold – watch this space.




    Gene Ching
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  10. #115
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    Olympic Karate

    I trust Japan will do Karate right. Who here remembers the scandal when Korea launched TKD?

    Karate Olympic debut shines light on martial art
    SPORTS OCT. 25, 2016 - 02:30PM JST


    A karate competition takes place in Tokyo on August 22, 2016, to select Japanese representatives for the world championships in Linz, Austria
    AFP

    NAHA — Hollywood may have kicked karate onto the world stage, but its first-ever Olympic inclusion at the Tokyo 2020 Games promises to shine a light on the rich history of the discipline.

    At 78, sensei Masahiro Nakamoto has been waiting decades for this decision, insisting there is far more to the martial art than the caricature depicted in films such as “The Karate Kid” and by action stars Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme.

    “This is the art of defence,” the karate master told AFP at his dojo in Naha, Okinawa—an island chain some 600 kilometers (375 miles) from the southern tip of mainland Japan.

    “You don’t go just kicking and punching, you receive your opponent’s blow. Defending yourself translates into offence,” he added.

    At the Tokyo Games, 80 competitors will take part in the Karate event. It joins surfing, skateboarding, climbing and baseball-softball as new sports included for the 2020 edition.

    “The dreams of the world’s karate athletes came true when the (International Olympic Committee) made its decision,” said Japan Karate do Federation vice president Shigeo Kurihara.

    “It’s an historic event—it was a day of joy for all of us.”

    A blend of indigenous fighting styles, karate was born in Okinawa in the 15th century when the area was ruled by the independent Ryukyu Kingdom. Strong trading links meant the sport was also influenced by Chinese martial arts.

    It is far older than the modern Olympics and today has at least 10 million registered practitioners worldwide, and yet it has struggled to make the case for inclusion in the Games.

    By contrast, judo, a Japanese martial art, and Korea’s taekwondo are already permanent fixtures on the roster. Judo made its Olympic debut when Tokyo hosted the 1964 Games while taekwondo made its first appearance at the global event in 1988.

    Integrating karate into the Olympics has been delayed by divisions in the movement around the world, with stalwarts long preferring to adhere to their interpretation rather than to work together to create an global art form.

    “The variety of styles – more than 20 – complicated efforts to unify karate,” said Francis Didier, vice president of the World Karate Federation.

    “It took a bit too long to modernise the rules of competition,” he admitted.

    Sport karate, for example, calls for competition rules where opponents have to control their blows, while traditional karate allows for harder shots but requires significant protective gear, such as boxing gloves and helmets.

    The martial art was only brought to Tokyo in the early 20th century when Gichin Funakoshi, regarded as the father of modern karate, moved from Naha.

    “Okinawa was the place where karate’s spirituality developed,” explains Kurihara.

    Frustrations remain however, that Okinawa’s role in the development of karate has been airbrushed out of history. For Nakamoto, the Olympic Games in four years time, is a chance to redress that.

    “This is a great chance to show the world where karate has its roots. The world may be surprised to know that it was developed here,” he said, adding that it was inexorably linked to the island chain’s politics.

    When the Ryukyu Kingdom ruled Okinawa for more than 400 years starting in the 15th century, brewers hired karate masters to protect shipments of indigenous rice-based liquor called Awamori, Nakamoto explained.

    A vital tool of diplomacy at the time—keeping leaders on good terms with China and Japan.

    “Brewers could sell their surplus so it was the jobs of karate masters to protect convoys from robbery,” Nakamoto said.

    “In summer, they would rest outside and drink the spirits—so it became part of the skill, to defend ourselves from attack while drunk, or asleep.”

    Karate expert and author Stephane Fauchard insists inclusion at the Tokyo 2020 Games will bring people to the sport.

    “This is going to boost the sport’s visibility. The Games are a great showcase,” he told AFP.

    Still, Fauchard doesn’t expect one big happy karate family.

    He explained: “Sport karate will continue to develop in national federations while traditional karate will still be taught in schools. They’ll both benefit from the media attention brought by the Olympics and continue to exist side by side.”

    Karate will still have to prove its credentials to retain an Olympic sport beyond 2020 however, the IOC will review whether its inclusion was a success.

    Didier argues it’s clear why karate should remain in the games after 2020.

    “Karate is relatively inexpensive, and athletes compete in the same arena as their judo and wrestling counterparts, and can be run over a few days.”
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  11. #116
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    I'm thinking this is going to be a good Olympics

    We're 4 years out and the news is already interesting.

    Japanese politician pushing to double price of cigarettes in Japan by start of 2020 Olympics
    Casey Baseel 2 days ago



    Proposed tax hike aims to reduce the number of people lighting up before the Olympic flame comes to Tokyo.

    Japan has a pretty intense mix of emotions about Tokyo serving as host of the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. On one hand, as a country that prides itself on hospitality and is always pleased to see people of other nations taking an interest in its traditions and accomplishments, many locals are excited about hosting the Games.

    But on the other hand, the surge in visitors and attention from abroad that Japan will be experiencing has some worried about how certain social norms of the geographically, and at times socially, insular nation will be perceived by the international community. For example, Japanese smoking restrictions are much laxer than those in many similarly developed countries.

    With Japanese public opinion also gradually becoming more critical of second-hand smoke, some legislators are arguing that now is as good a time as any to begin transitioning to stricter regulations and anti-smoking measures. The Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare is contemplating an indoor smoking ban that would prohibit lighting up in restaurants and bars, and now Akiko Santo, a member of the House of Councilors and the head of its Second-hand Smoke Prevention Committee, is pushing for another dramatic change.

    On October 25, Santo formally suggested to Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga that the government look into the ramifications of significantly raising tobacco taxes, to the extent that a single pack of cigarettes would cost more than 1,000 yen (US$9.70). Should such a move be carried out, the retail price of an average pack would be more than double what it is now. While no official legislation has been introduced for debate, Santo seems determined to implement higher taxes on cigarettes by 2020, saying “The Olympics are coming up, and the timing is right.”

    Source: Jiji
    Top image ©RocketNews24
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  12. #117
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    Tokey Hill


    GETTY IMAGES
    24 AUG 2017

    WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF KARATE

    TWELVE MONTHS AFTER THE ANNOUNCEMENT WAS MADE INCLUDING KARATE IN THE PROGRAMME FOR THE TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES, TOKEY HILL, THE 1980 KARATE WORLD CHAMPION AND CURRENT COACHING DIRECTOR AT THE USA KARATE FEDERATION, CAN BARELY BELIEVE HIS DREAM HAS COME TRUE.

    “Just talking about it makes my skin tingle and the hairs go up at the back on my neck,” said Hill of karate’s debut at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. “Every day I wake up to train athletes, I think to myself, ‘it really happened’. It’s unbelievable. Every day it is a blessing to wake up and say, ‘we are actually going to be there’.

    “I tell my doctor, ‘Doc do me a favour man, keep me alive for three more years’.”


    IOC

    Getting to this point has, as Hill acknowledges, been “a struggle” with “plenty of ups and down”. Karate has been dancing around the fringes of the Olympic movement for several decades, coming particularly close to securing a spot at the London 2012 Games. “Karate does not know the expression ‘giving up’,” Hill said, with a laugh.

    The close calls did give the sport an opportunity to not only ensure its presentation was as clear as possible, but to also spread the sport’s message a little further each time. “Karate shares principles and ideas which have a positive impact on the world,” Hill said. “It instils the character-building blocks of confidence, self-esteem, the ability to deal with peer pressure, avoid drug problems.”

    IT INSTILS THE CHARACTER-BUILDING BLOCKS OF CONFIDENCE, SELF-ESTEEM, THE ABILITY TO DEAL WITH PEER PRESSURE
    Tokey Hill

    Proponents of the sport, and there are none bigger than Hill, are also adamant that the full body skills on show plus the clear use of hands and feet in scoring points make karate one of the most spectator-friendly of all the martial arts.

    The decision to include kata, the demonstrative side of the sport in which each athlete must complete a series of pre-determined movements is, according to Hill, indicative of karate’s self-confidence and maturity.


    IOC

    “It is a beautiful part of the sport that I think has been overlooked and the WKF (World Karate Federation) has brought it to the forefront,” Hill said. Ten male and 10 female athletes will compete in kata in Tokyo, alongside 60 competitors in kumite, the more widely-known, one-on-one full contact discipline.

    “When you watch kata you see the full mind and body connection, the full ying and yang. You see all the principals of martial arts,” said Hill. “You want to say it is beauty, it is grace, but when you see these people move, the power, the speed, the sharp technique, it is unbelievable.”

    The hosts of the 2020 Games currently boast a particularly rich stream of kata talent, with Ryo Kiyuna and Kiyou Shimizu reigning world champions. This represents just one aspect of the undeniable synchronicity of karate making its Olympic bow in Japan.


    IOC

    “Our first world championships was in Tokyo in 1970. To come full circle, Japan not only gets a lot of the credit for the sport but they have done a lot of work revolutionising what we are doing, as far as bringing karate to the forefront,” Hill said.

    Not that the Japanese are expected to exert a stranglehold on the medals in three years’ time. Hill has seen, at first-hand, the burgeoning talent worldwide.

    “Karate has grown all over the world. From being on the technical committee of the Americas and the WKF I have had a lot of exposure. Karate is no longer in pockets,” the coach of a number of USA athletes hoping to make the team for Tokyo, said.

    “Colombia, for instance, had three or four people in recent finals, Brazil have current (world) champions, the USA has Tom Scott, number one in the world at -75kg.”


    IOC

    Add on the significantly increased national investment that will come from governments across the globe as a result of karate’s rise to Olympic status, and Hill is certain that the smaller nations will challenge the traditional powerhouses.

    As the USA’s first karate world champion – he won gold in the -80kg category in Madrid, Spain – Hill does have some personal experience of this phenomenon. He is hoping he will soon get to experience it vicariously. Hill’s daughter, Ashley, was recently lured back to karate by the prospect of competing at the 2020 Olympic Games.

    “She had a great acting career, she was out of karate for four years but now she has made a commitment to come back because of the Olympics,” Hill explained.

    Ashley, a two-time world championship medal winner and multiple USA national champion, had swapped the mat for a successful TV and film career, including a role alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger. Giving it all up to return to the rigour of full-time training was not easy, but indicated a passion for the sport of which her father is fiercely proud.


    IOC

    “I’ll tell you how committed she is – she just got a job offer to shoot a segment for a movie, it was very lucrative for her and would have really helped her acting career, however she turned it down,” he said.

    “I said to her it was her choice, ‘you figure out what you want to do but I can tell you this, you have to pick one or the other because you are not going to be able to commit 100% and that is what it is going to take to fulfil the criteria to make an Olympic team’.”

    A spot on the USA Olympic team, let alone a medal in Tokyo, would, you suspect, be a dream fulfilled, not only for Ashley but also for her father. “The Olympics is the greatest event in the world as far as I am concerned,” Hill said.
    I think I'm going to enjoy watching this.
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  13. #118
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    Tokey Hill...now that's a name I haven't heard in a LOOONG time; not since he was a competitor back in the late '70s/early '80s.

    Even though I feel that Olympics inclusion generally 'messes up' a MA, I strongly suspect that Olympic Karate will represent itself far, far better than Olympic TKD.

  14. #119
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    not the ultimate aim...

    ...because it's all about the original charm.

    Aiming for tranquil transition
    China Daily, August 31, 2017


    A wushu athlete competes at the Chinese National Games in Tianjin.

    An official of wushu's governing body in China said the sport's inclusion in the Olympics is key to boosting its global profile, but is not the nation's ultimate aim.

    "Despite the failure of wushu, or Chinese martial arts, to be included in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, the bidding efforts have significantly boosted the development of the sport around the globe," Zhang Yuping, deputy head of the Chinese Wushu Administrative Center of the State General Administration of Sport, said on Tuesday.

    The number of member countries and regions in the International Wushu Federation has increased from 116 to 149 since 2008, and the sport has been included in many continental and multi-discipline events, she said.

    Wushu has been an official competition event at the Asian Games and was a demonstration event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympics.

    "The ever-increasing global profile of wushu is closely related with the efforts to bid for the sport's inclusion as an Olympic sport. And we will continue to push for the inclusion," said Zhang, a former national wushu champion.

    Lai Xiaoxiao, a 24-year-old taking part in wushu at the 13th National Games in Tianjin, said adding wushu to the Olympics would help introduce it to more people.

    "I think many people only know wushu as a form of performance, but do not understand the meaning behind the movements. More people will have the chance to see wushu if it is included in the Olympic Games," Lai said.

    But that's not the primary aim of the sport's governing body, said Zhang.

    "Our goal is to promote traditional Chinese culture to the world and give the world a sport from China," she said.

    There are around 60 million practitioners of all ages in the country, according to Zhang.

    In recent years, China has sent coaches to foreign countries and cooperated with the Confucius Institute worldwide to develop training courses for overseas practitioners, while the country's governing body for the sport has adopted standardized movements and scoring systems.

    Zhang said the standardization of wushu, while being beneficial to its promotion, does not compromise its original charm.

    "Wushu has retained its distinctive features in its transformation from traditional martial arts to a competitive sport," Zhang said.

    "For instance, in the routine competition (performance of movements or weapon skills), every move has its distinctive meaning derived from attack or defense in real combat. This separates it from other sports like gymnastics," she said.

    From transformation, wushu has evolved into taolu-routine performances of movements or weapon skills-and sanda, a combat sport combining punching, kicking and wrestling.

    Lin Jianhua, a referee at the National Games, said it's time for wushu to become a Olympic sport because its increasingly sophisticated evaluation system has been accepted globally.

    Lin said the rules used in domestic competitions have been gradually aligned with international standards in recent years, which paves way for the promotion of wushu in the world.

    "Through the standardization, wushu is rendered in a more graceful and elevated manner," said Dong Guoxing, a wushu coach from Henan province.

    "And the competition is staged in a more fair and open way."
    2020 Olympics & China National Games
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  15. #120
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    The Ozumo Beyond 2020 Basho


    Yokozuna Hakuho (left) and Kisenosato perform the rare sandan-gamae ritual at the Beyond 2020 Basho on Wednesday at Ryogoku Kokugikan. | KYODO
    SUMO

    Sumo pulls out all the stops at promotional event
    BY MAI YOSHIKAWA
    KYODO
    OCT 4, 2017

    Rikishi in Japan are coming up big — literally and figuratively — doing little things to promote the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and, though not part of the Olympic program, the ancient national sport of sumo.

    On Wednesday, 70 wrestlers of sumo’s top two divisions, including all four yokozuna, took part in the Ozumo Beyond 2020 Basho, a government-funded project aimed at both first-time spectators and hardcore fans. It was the second straight year for the event at Ryogoku Kokugikan

    Wrestlers clad in colorful kimono stood outside the Tokyo venue and delighted the 4,000 fans by greeting them with handshakes, hugs, autograph signings and selfies.

    The invitation-only event featured various services such as English public address announcements and subtitled live video streaming as well as wheelchair and guide dog accessibility. The unique experience took guests away from the present moment, allowing them to temporarily forget the injury concerns surrounding sumo’s top makuuchi division that have been giving the Japan Sumo Association a headache.

    The dohyo ring was a stage where children in mawashi belts tackled wrestlers and lower-ranked wrestlers took turns singing lively sumo songs.

    Last year, when the JSA organized the event for the first time, the sandan-gamae ceremony was performed by two yokozuna for the first time in 21 years. This year, Hakuho and Kisenosato were given the rare privilege of demonstrating the three-posture ritual.

    After taking part in his first sandan-gamae, held only on special occasions, Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho said he enjoyed the kind of adrenaline rush he had never felt before.

    “It was my first time (to perform the sandan-gamae) and I was nervous but it was a good experience,” said Hakuho, who was a last-minute entry. “The Olympics coming to Tokyo again is already a big deal, and it couldn’t have happened at a better time. I’m glad I was born the year I was. I hope to remain active until 2020,” said Hakuho, whose father won Mongolia’s first-ever Olympic medal as a freestyle wrestler in 1968 and also competed in the 1964 Tokyo Games.

    Meanwhile, his counterpart Kisenosato said he remembers seeing the ritual in photographs years ago and was happy to officially become a part of that tradition.

    “What an honor,” said Kisenosato.

    “There were fans from all generations and it’s nice to share sumo tradition with them. Of course there’s the basho, but getting a chance to watch things like the sandan-gamae is different. I hope this gets more people interested in sumo.”

    The one-day event was being held as a trial project by the government as the country makes every effort to attract more foreign visitors and make an economic success of the 2020 Games.

    In addition to ringside seating for wheelchair users, live English play-by-play commentary and sign language interpretation were available to demonstrate how sports can break down barriers.

    JSA public relations chief Kiyotaka Kasugano, who spoke on the raised ring before the national anthem was performed by a singer with autism, expressed his joy at seeing so many local foreign residents unite through sumo, and for the opportunity to share Japan’s culture and traditions with the world.

    “Through sumo we believe we can promote this country’s other fine cultures and continue that trend onto the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics,” he said.
    If only Sumo would become an Olympic event. I'd watch that.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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