The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 run July 24-Aug. 9, 2020, with the Paralympic Games following Aug. 25-Sept. 6, and while they may be nine months away there’s a lot to learn on your quest to becoming the ultimate fan. Each Tuesday leading up to the Games, TeamUSA.org will present a nugget you should read about – from athletes to watch to storylines to follow to Japanese culture and landmarks – as part of “Tokyo 2020 Tuesday.” Follow along on social media with the hashtag #Tokyo2020Tuesday.
If you’re a skateboarder looking to make the first-ever U.S. Olympic Skateboarding Team, you’d love to be Nyjah Huston or Heimana Reynolds right now.
Huston, of Laguna Beach, California, won his third consecutive world title in street skateboarding this year and Reynolds, a native of Honolulu, Hawaii, took the championship in park skateboarding. They’re both on top of the Olympic rankings in their respective disciplines and lead the 2020 USA Skateboarding National Team, which was announced over the weekend at the conclusion of the national championships.
Skateboarding will make its debut at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and the U.S. could send as many as 12 athletes. There are two disciplines — street and park — and countries can qualify up to three men and three women in each. There will be a total of 80 skaters, divided evenly amongst the events, competing at the Games.
If there is such a thing as a shoo-in, it’s Huston. The 24-year-old competed in the X Games for the first time at the age of 11 and has since become the most decorated X Games street skater. He’s won four world street skateboarding titles overall and over the years has built a reputation on delivering with the most difficult tricks and best runs whenever the pressure is on. He currently leads the Olympic World Skateboard Rankings in men’s street.
Heimana Reynolds competes at the ANOC World Beach Games on Oct. 15 2019 in Doha, Qatar.
Joining him in the top 20 of the rankings and on the national team are No. 6 Maurio McCoy, No. 8 Jamie Foy, No. 13 and newly-crowned national champion Dashawn Jordan and No. 19 Jagger Eaton.
Mariah Duran won the women’s street title and is ranked No. 7 in the world standings. Joining her on the national team are No. 9 Alexis Sablone, No. 12 Alana Smith, No. 21 Lacey Baker and No. 23 Samarria Brevard.
Street skating takes places on a fairly level course and incorporates rails, steps, walls, tables and other features you would find in a city. Park skating takes place in “bowls,” where athletes ride down and up steep walls performing tricks.
Reynolds, 21, was not named to the inaugural national skateboarding team named in March, but after winning the world title in park this year and topping the Olympic rankings by a huge margin he leads the team heading into 2020. He won silver at the world championships in 2018 then won an Olympic qualifier in July before taking the world title in September.
Reynolds is joined by No. 6 Tom Schaar, No. 7 Cory Juneau, No. 8 Alex Sorgente, new national champion and world No. 17 Tristan Rennie and No. 39 Zion Wright.
The women’s park team consists of 14-year-old Bryce Wettstein, who won the national championship and is ranked No. 10 in the world, No. 14 Jordan Santana, No. 15 Ariana Carmona, No. 17 Minna Stess, No. 21 Brighton Zeuner and No. 30 Jordyn Barratt.
The top three athletes in each of the 2020 world championship events — both street and park take place in May — will automatically qualify to compete in the 2020 Games, regardless of where they rank in the overall standings. The next 16 athletes per event will be pulled from the rankings as of June 1, 2020, with a maximum of three per country. Japan will get one slot per event as host country.