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The top ten 2020 Tokyo Olympics pictograms, ranked

The official pictograms for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics were revealed this past week as Japan marked 500 days until the summer games. Designed by Masaaki Hiromura, the icons are based on the designs from the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, where pictograms first made their debut. They’ve since been used on venue maps, buildings, and programs to promote the sports and help fans and attendees better understand the games without language barriers.

There are 50 pictograms in all for 33 sports (some have more than others), and there are some new additions to welcome the most recently added sports like baseball, softball, karate, skateboarding, surfing, and speed climbing.

“I hope that these pictograms will inspire everyone and help generate excitement for the different sports at Tokyo 2020,” Hiromura said in a statement.

Looking through all of them, I can say he’s achieved his goal because I’m already getting emotional thinking about the Olympics. The dynamic designs are beautiful and functional, conveying just the right amount of information about the sport. I’ve ranked my top 10 favorites, take a look below and see if you agree.


10. Sailing

This gets a spot here because until today, I had no idea sailing was an Olympic sport. I also love how water is conveyed in all of the pictograms for the aquatic sports, which is just like how every child draws them. I feel vindicated in my art skills.


9. BMX Freestyle

They’re upside down and that’s good enough for me.


8. Canoe Sprint

This logo could easily be embroidered on a Patagonia zip-up, and I’d buy it because that’s the kind of lifestyle I want. Never mind that the one time I dared to go in a lake, I ended up with an eye infection. A quick Google image search reveals some canoe sprint athletes with jacked upper body muscles, so you know this sport is legit.


7. Judo

Again, someone here is upside down and suspended in gravity, so this is okay in my book.


6. Karate Kata

I love this pose, especially because of this cute photo of Japanese karate athlete Kiyo Shimizu demonstrating it at the official unveiling event.


5. 3×3 Basketball

The 3×3 logo is very industrial, and I’m getting some NBA Jam vibes from this.


4. Surfing

Surfing will make its debut at the 2020 Olympics, set to take place at Shidashita Beach, about 40 miles outside of Tokyo. Will my favorite Terrace House member and Olympics hopeful Guy Sato be there? I’m just going to go ahead and imagine that’s him in the pictogram.


3. Skateboarding

I’ve never seen skateboarding depicted more elegantly. Those curved lines giving way to the anticipation before the fall! I love it.


2. Modern Pentathlon

There’s a lot going on here, but how else would you depict a sport that requires athletes to go through an arduous day of fencing, swimming, equestrian show jumping, and pistol shooting while cross country running? I’m exhausted just looking at this.


1. Equestrian Dressage

It’s the fanciest sport there is. Athlete and horse moving as one, hooves tappin’ away. The icon is almost like a reverse centaur, topped off with a dandy hat.

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