New opportunities rise as sports continue to evolve

New and emerging sports are giving mainstream sports like netball, rugby, cricket and football a serious challenge in the race for student attention.

What were once considered fringe sports are gaining in both popularity and players as more and more students explore and enjoy the many sports options available to them.

The result is we are seeing more of NZ’s young athletes excelling on the world stage, often in sports we might not have known about, or which may not have existed even 10 years ago.

Climbing her way to the top of her sport

One such young sports star is 18-year-old Sarah Tetzlaff (pictured) who, after leaving Welington Girl’s College last year, has become a full-time climber. Sport-climbing is not something most of us do (or possibly even want to do), but with its inclusion in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, it’s a sport we’re going to hear and learn more about.

Read Sarah’s story of what took her into sport climbing and where she can go

Skateboarding and surfing bring street to the stadium

The Olympics are where much of the normalising of possibly random sports is happening. There are 15 new events on the programme for Tokyo in two years, including baseball/softball, karate and Sarah Tetzlaff’s sport climbing.

Showing how keen the Olympics organisers are to attract younger audiences, they have also included BMX Freestyle and two icons of youth/street culture, skateboarding and surfing.

New sports showcased at Youth Olympic Games

Before these games in Japan, a bunch of new sports will be featured at the Youth Olympic Games in October of this year in Buenos Aries. Sarah will be there doing her climbing, while other new or changed sports include Karate, Dancesports (breakdancing), Roller Speed Skating, BMX Freestyle, Kiteboarding, Futsal and Beach Handball (yes, it’s a thing).

As many as 90 athletes from New Zealand will join more than 3400 others from over 200 countries in Buenos Aries later in the year. Many have already been named to represent their discipline, and lots of these future stars are still at school.

Check out the list of NZ’s youth Olympians named so far and which school they are from.

Sport Up Your Life

Keen to make sport part of your future? You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to build a career in sport, but you probably have to work like one.

There are heaps of sports training, coaching and admin roles that school leavers in NZ can be part of, and in a range of places from universities through to private training schools.

Find out about courses in Sport and Exercise Science

Want a guide to see what careers might suit your individual preferences and talents, try this smart 20-question quiz from the International Olympic Committee’s website, Sport Up Your Life.

Try the Sport Up Your Life quiz