AR Experience Introduces Three New Olympic Sports

The Washington Post uses AR and interactive video to showcase three new Olympic sports debuting in Tokyo.

The 2020 Olympics are finally here after being delayed due to the global pandemic. And though we may not be out of the woods just yet, the Olympic committee has chosen to move forward with the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games, allowing hard-working athletes from all around the world to compete against each other (and themselves) for the chance at taking home an Olympic medal. 

To celebrate the games, The Washington Post has created a unique AR and experimental video series that introduces you to three rising stars on Team USA who are competing in three new Olympic sports! Through this series you will meet Olympic skateboarder Heimana Reynold, Olympic sports climber Brooke Raboutou, and Olympic surfer Caroline Marks

Image Credit: Washington Post

Each athlete’s profile tells the story of their road to the Olympics and what motivates them as athletes. You also gain a bit of knowledge about the sport they are competing in. To bring the experience to life, The Washington Post collaborated with Lede Lab, their experimental news team dedicated to exploring how emerging technologies such as AR or VR can be used to create new storytelling techniques and develop creative partnerships.


If you’ve never seen competitive sports climbing, then you’re in for a treat! Olympians compete in three disciplines: speed climbing, bouldering, and lead climbing, each posing unique challenges. The fastest climber will walk away with gold.

The accompanying AR experience has a digital version of Brooke Raboutou climbing a massive fifteen-meter-tall wall in about 10 seconds – the expected Olympic climbing speed. Because it’s AR, you can scale it full size or shrink it down to have the athlete climb up a wall on your kitchen table. Scan the QR code below to check it out.

Image Credit: Washington Post


First off, I can’t believe it’s taken this long for skateboarding to become an official Olympic sport! But the day is finally here and people all around the world are psyched! Skaters will be given a chance to showcase their creativity and athleticism in short 45-second runs, similar to snowboarding and gymnastics.

To show you how awesome skateboarding is, The Washington Post has created a cool boomerang-style effect of Olympic skateboarder Heimana Reynolds as he does one of his favorite tricks, a frontside invert on the coping of the pool. “It’s definitely more of an old-school trick. I kind of like to follow in the footsteps of the past generations,” said Reynolds. To activate, hit this link and then hover your cursor over the image. Move it left and right to activate a cool 180-degree view.

Image Credit: Washington Post


Surfing is another cool sport I’m excited to see join the Olympics. Much like traditional surfing competitions, surfers will try to catch as many waves as possible within a 30-minute window. Olympic judges will score each ride, but only a surfer’s top two will count toward a final score. Top competitors will then showcase their power and style by performing difficult maneuvers on a high-quality wave. All surfing competitions will be held at Tsurigasak Surfing Beach on the Chiba coastline, about 40 miles southeast of Tokyo.

For surfing, The Washington Post took a more traditional approach by using an annotated slow-motion capture series explaining exactly how Caroline Marks masters a wave. During an interview about the Olympics with Sports Illustrated, Marks said, “I want to be the next generation that is pushing the sport and leading the way, surfing bigger waves, getting barreled more, and doing airs.”

You can see Reynolds, Raboutou, and Marks each compete in their sport during the 2020 Summer Olympics. The full Olympic schedule can be found here.

Feature Image Credit: Washington Post

About the Scout

Bobby Carlton

Hello, my name is Bobby Carlton. When I'm not exploring the world of immersive technology, I'm writing rock songs about lost love. I'd also like to mention that I can do 25 push-ups in a row.

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