Skateboarding Preview

Skateboarding will make its debut at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, which are now scheduled to take place in 2021. It was officially added to the program by vote during the 2016 International Olympic Committee session in Rio de Janeiro.

There is no single person credited with inventing skateboarding or the first skateboard. The invention of the skateboard appears to have been a spontaneous occurrence in the United States in the 1950s, fueled by the rise of surf culture.

Following the invention of the kicktail in 1969 and urethane wheels in the early 1970s, the ability to turn and maneuver skateboards opened countless new possibilities for the sport. Skateboarding rapidly evolved from a fad during its first boom in the 1960s, to the center of mainstream youth culture in the early 2000s. Skateboarding developed as an insular subculture, independent of the structure that defines traditional organized sports. It has been a grassroots movement driven by youth.

The immersive culture of skateboarding celebrates the abilities of athletes both on and off their boards. Art, photography, music, fashion, filmmaking, invention, innovation and competition are all key components of skateboarding culture. As the sport’s national governing body, USA Skateboarding is dedicated to promoting and supporting the sport of skateboarding globally, while striving to maintain the integrity and authenticity of skateboarding as a sport, passion and lifestyle.

Two distinct disciplines of skateboarding will take place at the Tokyo Games: park and street. Park terrain courses are based on transitional concrete bowls from five to 10 feet in depth, and are distinguished by design features such as spines, hips, extensions, escalators, banks, elevation changes, gaps and variable grinding surfaces.

The competitors in park contests have three attempts to execute their best 45-second “run” consisting of various tricks of their choosing. Skaters are free to attempt any trick they want during their run, generating and maintaining momentum as they move through the course.

Park skateboarding tricks consist primarily of airs, lip tricks and inverts. Along with significant differences in course design, park differs from street skateboarding in that competitors rarely push to generate speed and frequently perform tricks grabbing the board with their hands.

Street skateboarding courses are designed to replicate real-world urban terrain and consist of stair sets, rails, gaps, benches, ledges and planters on riding surfaces of varying heights. Traditional skatepark elements such as banks and quarterpipes are also included.

The competitors in street contests are required to skate the course in two different ways; a timed “run” where they perform a sequence of tricks during the allotted 45 seconds, and a “trick” section consisting of five separate attempts to perform different tricks of their choosing.

Updated on July 30, 2020. For more information, contact the sport press officer here.

More than just an American hobby, the sport of skateboarding is building momentum around the world. Popularized by the X Games and athletes such as Tony Hawk, skateboarding has become a worldwide phenomenon. Its debut on the Olympic program is the next step of the sport’s evolution.

Skateboarding is a sport highlighted by its gender equality. Women are as big of stars in the world of skateboarding as men, inspiring millions of young men and women around the world to express themselves through this unique sport.

American Nyjah Huston has cemented himself as the greatest competitive street skateboarder ever prior to the Tokyo Games. He is the current world champion and ranked first in the World Skateboarding Rankings.

Nyjah Huston (Davis, California)
Not only is Huston the winningest street skateboarder in history, but he has also monopolized the world of action sports over the course of his career. He has captured seven golds at the X Games and won the “Best Male Action Sports Athlete” award at the 2013, 2014 and 2019 ESPY Awards. He is currently ranked first in in the world, winning the 2019 world championships in street.

Mariah Duran (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
Duran experienced a breakout year in 2016 by turning pro and earning silver at the X Games. A year later, Duran captured her first street league podium finish at the world championship. With her big bag of complicated tricks, it’s easy to see why Duran is the current and back-to-back X Games gold medalist in women’s street. Representing the next generation of young female street skaters, she possesses technical prowess and skates big-stair sets and rails with ease and finesse.

Heimana Reynolds (Honolulu, Hawaii) – 2019 Men’s Park Skateboarding World Champion
Honolulu’s Reynolds has been hailed as the next big thing since he was 10 years old. He was Disney XD's Summer "Next X" winner in 2010. In 2017, Heimana claimed back-to-back second-place park podium finishes at Dew Tour Long Beach and a third place finish at the Huntington Beach stop of the Vans Park Series. In 2018, Heimana took the win in air and style and silver at the world championships. There was no slowing down for 21-year-old Reynolds in 2019, as he won the international open in China in July, the world championships in Brazil in September, then took gold at the world beach games in Qatar, and second at the national championships in October. He likes to start everyday surfing to clear his head before going skating.

Bryce Wettstein (Encinitas, California)
Wettstein has been skating and surfing since she was five years old. Heading into the final stretch of Olympic qualifying, she is the top ranked women’s park skateboarder in the U.S. at 16 years old, while also maintaining full-time honor-roll student status. She won the 2019 national championships in October 2. Beyond competition, Wettstein truly cherishes the camaraderie, traveling and adventure that these high-caliber contests bring. When she’s not on her skateboard, you can find Wettstein surfing, playing volleyball or writing songs on her ukulele. Wettstein aspires to go to college and become a scientist one day.

Skateboarders will qualify for the Tokyo Games directly by making the podium at the 2020 park and street world championships, or by earning points in Olympic qualifying events.

The first qualifying season is Jan. 1, 2019 through Sept. 30, 2019, while the second is Oct. 1, 2019 through May 31, 2020. The two highest points events from the first season will be added to the five highest points events from the second season for all competitors, creating the Olympic World Skateboarding Rankings.

Twenty skateboarders each in men’s and women’s park and street will at the Tokyo Games. For each gender and discipline, the top three skateboarders from the 2020 world championships will qualify for the Games.

The highest-ranked skateboarder in the OWSR from each continental region who has not already qualified for the Tokyo Games will also earn an individual quota spot. The remaining spots are filled in order from the OWSR, limited by a maximum quota of three skateboarders per country.

Qualifying Season Two – All events currently suspended due to COVID-19. Events will resume when safe with a 60-day notice from World Skate.