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Views of Real-World Impact

ANSI shines a spotlight on Standards in action as they support safety, efficiency and well-being in interesting aspects of everyday life.


The Gold Standard: SDOs Help Olympians Achieve Their Dreams in Tokyo


Whether you’re a fan of horseback riding or handball, beach volleyball or BMX racing, the Summer Olympics allows you to see the world’s best athletes compete at the highest level. Originally scheduled for last summer but postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic, the 2020 Olympics are being held now through August 8 in Tokyo.

Although this Olympics is different than in years past due to the COVID-19 precautions, with no public spectators permitted, athletes have been exceeding expectations and demonstrating their greatness day after day. Some highlights:

  • Sunisa Lee, the first Hmong American Olympian, won gold in the women’s gymnastics individual all-around competition
  • Hildilyn Diaz became the first ever Olympic gold medalist from the Philippines after winning the women’s 55kg category for weightlifting
  • Latvia won gold in the 3x3 basketball event (the first time this has been included in the Olympics) after a two-point jumper with less than 30 seconds remaining that sealed the win
  • Oksana Chusovitina, a gymnast from Uzbekistan, competed in her eighth Olympic Games
  • Shi Zhiyong of China broke his own world record in the men’s 73-kilogram weightlifting category, winning gold after lifting a total of 364 kg (802.48 lbs)

What sports are included in the Summer Olympics?

3x3 Basketball; Archery; Artistic Gymnastics; Artistic Swimming; Athletics (track and field); Badminton; Baseball and Softball; Basketball; Beach Volleyball; BMX Freestyle; BMX Racing; Boxing; Canoe/Kayak Flatwater; Canoe/Kayak Slalom; Diving; Equestrian; Fencing; Football; Golf; Handball; Hockey; Judo; Karate; Marathon Swimming; Modern Pentathlon; Mountain Bike; Rhythmic Gymnastics; Road Cycling; Rowing; Rugby; Sailing; Table Tennis; Taekwondo; Tennis; Track Cycling; Trampoline; Triathlon; Volleyball; Water Polo; Weightlifting; Wrestling

Behind the thrilling events we’re all watching on TV are years of rigorous training and dedication. Standards are in place to assure that training is safe and productive for these athletes as well as millions of amateur athletes who practice the sports on a more casual level.

Archery was first added to the Olympics in 1900, and since then 84 nations have competed in the event. South Korean archers dominate, having won 26 out of 37 gold medals in events since 1984. Archers keep themselves safe and their performance consistent with the help of standards that guide bows, arrows, and safety equipment. ASTM International, a member and audited designator of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), has published many archery standards, such as ASTM F1436-11, Standard Guide for Center Serving Diameter Dimensions for Archery Bow Strings.

Golf, too, was added to the Olympics in 1900. After being included in the 1904 Olympics as well, it was taken off the program until being reinstated in 2016. 2020 is now the fourth Olympics to include the sport. The U.S. holds the most medals in both men’s and women’s golf events. The ubiquitous golf carts present at any golfer’s training sessions are guided by ANSI/OPEI Z130.1, Golf Cars – Safety and Performance Specifications, a standard developed by ANSI member and accredited standards developer the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI).

Taekwondo and Karate
Taekwondo was included in the Olympics in 1988 and 1992 as a demonstration sport (not part of the medal competition) before being added as a full medal sport in 2000. Karate, meanwhile, is making its Olympic debut this year at the 2020 Games in Tokyo. Both martial arts sports require protective equipment for the safety of their athletes; this equipment is guided by many standards such as ISO 21924-5, Protective Equipment for Martial Arts – Part 5: Additional Requirements and Test Methods for Genital Protectors and Abdominal Protectors. This standard was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee (TC) 83, Sports and other recreational facilities and equipment, subcommittee (SC) 6, Martial arts. ASTM is the ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) administrator to TC 83.

Rowing was on the program at the Summer Olympics in 1896, but had to be cancelled due to bad weather. As a result, 1900 was when this sport made its first Olympic appearance. Only men were allowed to compete in the category until the 1976 Olympics, when women’s rowing events were introduced. This year’s Olympics has 14 total rowing events, including sweep rowing (one oar per competitor), sculling (two oars per competitor), and lightweight (weight-limited crew) categories. Athletes at the Olympic level spend countless hours on the water, but rowing training can be done in the gym, too, with stationary equipment. One standard that guides the safety of this equipment is ISO 20957-7, Stationary Training Equipment – Part 7: Rowing Equipment, Additional Specific Safety Requirements and Test Methods. This document was also developed by ISO TC 83.

Visit to keep up with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and root for your favorite athletes!