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Skateboarding Makes Olympic Debut in 2020!


Olympic Sports


An Olympic debut for an essential feature of street culture

| Overview

A skateboard is a short, narrow board with two small wheels attached to the bottom of either end. Skateboarders ride on this apparatus to perform a series of tricks including jumps, flips and mid-air spins. The sport of Skateboarding will make its Olympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 Games.

There are various theories about the origins of Skateboarding, but it is generally held that the sport began in the 1940s on the west coast of the USA when metal wheels were attached to a narrow wooden board. In the 1950s, plastic replaced metal as the material of choice for the wheels, and the first ‘Roller Surfboard’ become commercially available, which in turn developed into the skateboard that we know today. The sport was a big hit with the younger generation and grew in global popularity in the 1980s and '90s. Since the late 1990s, skateboarding has become an essential part of street culture.

International Federation:World Skate

| Event Programme

  • Park (Men/Women)

  • Street (Men/Women)

Supreme skills and youthful cool

There will be two disciplines on the Skateboarding programme at Tokyo 2020: street and park. The competition will include both men's and women's events, with athletes demonstrating spectacular tricks in a festival atmosphere.

• Street

This competition is held on a straight ‘street-like’ course featuring stairs, handrails, curbs, benches, walls and slopes. Each competitor performs individually, and utilises each section to demonstrate a range of skills, or ‘tricks’. Judging takes into account such factors as the degree of difficulty of the tricks, height, speed, originality, execution and the composition of moves, in order to award an overall mark.

Competitors often ‘slide’ the deck (wooden board) of their skateboards and ‘grind’ the trucks (components which connect the wheels and bearings to the deck of the skateboard) directly along the course's man-made curbs and handrails.

When riding along the rails and curbs, competitors often perform an ‘ollie’, a trick whereby the rider and board leap into the air without the use of the rider's hands. Skilled riders make this difficult trick appear easy.

The side-on position taken by riders of surfboards and skateboards is known as the ‘stance’. A position with the left leg facing the direction in which the rider wishes to move is known as the ‘regular stance’, while some riders prefer to position their right leg facing the direction in which they wish to move, which is known as the ‘goofy stance’. A rider's usual stance is called the ‘main stance’; when a rider changes the position of the front leg during competition, this is known as the ‘switch stance’. The marks awarded for tricks performed with the main stance differ from those performed with the switch stance as the degree of difficulty is increased with the latter.

A common trick is for riders to flip the deck of the skateboard, while the trick that entails the rider revolving while at the same time flipping the deck of the board without using the hands is more complex. When performed well, the trick makes it appear that the rider's feet are attached to the deck by a magnet. Parallel, length-wise and other dynamic, multi-dimensional flips all require a high level of technique.

• Park

Park competitions take place on a hollowed-out course featuring a series of complicated curves – some resembling large dishes and dome-shaped bowls. From the bottom of the cavity, the curved surfaces rise steeply, with the upper part of the incline either vertical or almost vertical. Among the attractions of park competitions are the immense heights achieved by climbing the curves at speed and performing amazing mid-air tricks.

The variety of tricks increases when the kicker ramp is used to gain height. The degree of difficulty can depend on whether the rider grabs the deck of the skateboard with a hand when performing mid-air tricks, which part of the deck is grabbed, which hand is used to grab the deck, and the posture of the rider while grabbing the deck.

Difficulty and originality also increase if the deck is rotated in mid-air, if the competitor is able to rotate their body while in mid-air, and variations on these types of rotations. Some competitors also perform balancing tricks on the ‘lip’ of the ramp.

A unique experience in a dynamic urban venue

In Skateboarding, the rider is free to select which parts of the course to tackle and which tricks to perform. Even when the same tricks are performed, the flow of the performance can depend greatly on the speed attained. While speed is an important element, marks are awarded for the overall level of difficulty and originality.

In addition, competition judges also take into account the overall flow, timing, stability and to what extent the riders are able to create the sensation of being suspended in mid-air.

Music is an important accompaniment and will contribute to a vibrant and youth-focused atmosphere at the Aomi Urban Sports Venue, which will also host 3x3 Basketball and Sport Climbing. This temporary facility will be the dynamic and innovative home to the Games' newest events, increasing the opportunity for engagement with fans and delivering a unique Tokyo 2020 experience.


Skateboarding began when metal wheels were attached to a wooden board. What are the decks of skateboards made of today?


They are still made of wood.

In the 1970s some decks were made of fibreglass, but since the 1980s decks have generally been produced using hard maple veneers. Hard maple is a strong, durable and flexible wood making it effective against shocks and friction. Incidentally, skateboards are produced using technologies employed in the manufacture of furniture. Many skateboard factories both in Japan and overseas started as furniture producers.

As of 1 Dec. 2018

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