A complete guide on how to qualify as a skateboarder for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo

The official qualification process for skateboarding at the Olympic Games explained with all the FAQs answered in full ahead of Tokyo 2020

The Ariake Urban Sports Park in Tokyo will host the very first Olympic skateboarding contest.

If you want to know exactly how a skater will qualify for the Olympic Games in 2020, we have all the answers.

What are the events?

Skateboarding at the Olympics will be split into two events: street and park.

Street will be on 26/27 July 2020 with park on 6/7 August.

Street skateboarder Nyjah Huston doing a demo at the Youth Olympic Games at Buenos Aires
Street skateboarder Nyjah Huston doing a demo at the Youth Olympic Games at Buenos AiresStreet skateboarder Nyjah Huston doing a demo at the Youth Olympic Games at Buenos Aires
Street skaters Leticia Bufoni of Brazil and Nyjah Huston of USA get hyped for the Olympics with some themed sunglasses
Street skaters Leticia Bufoni of Brazil and Nyjah Huston of USA get hyped for the Olympics with some themed sunglassesStreet skaters Leticia Bufoni of Brazil and Nyjah Huston of USA get hyped for the Olympics with some themed sunglasses

What is street skateboarding?

A set of expert judges give scores as the skaters tackle a course with features like those found in cities around the world.

Skaters are given a set time limit, but are otherwise free to choose whatever route they want around the stairs, handrails, curbs, benches, walls, and slopes.

Some factors in working out the scores are: difficulty of the tricks, height, speed, originality, execution, and the composition.

USA skater Nyjah Huston won the men’s World Skate/SLS 2018 World Championships with Japan’s Aori Nishimura taking the win in the women’s category.

A rail at Street League Skateboarding event in London
A rail at Street League Skateboarding event in LondonA rail at Street League Skateboarding event in London

What is park skateboarding?

Park skating has its roots in the drained swimming pools that skaters first used in the Venice Beach area of Los Angeles when skateboarding first emerged.

The smooth bowls have steep curved inclines meaning skaters can achieve massive height and have the freedom to put together a run as they see fit.

Again, the competitors are scored for the difficulty and the originality of their tricks.

USA’s Brighton Zeuner is 14 years old and is already a two-time X Games medallist in the women’s park terrain. In the men’s, Brazilian 23-year-old Brazilian Pedro Barros won at the 2018 World Skate Park World Championships.

Lizzie Armanto competes in the Women's Pro Park Final at the 2018 Dew Tour
Lizzie Armanto competes in the Women's Pro Park Final at the 2018 Dew TourLizzie Armanto competes in the Women's Pro Park Final at the 2018 Dew Tour

How many skaters will qualify?

In total, there are 80 places for skaters to compete at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. There will be 40 spots for women across the two categories and a further 40 for men. There will be 20 skaters in both the street and park competitions for each gender.

How many skaters are allowed from each country?

A maximum of three athletes per nation per event per gender. In total, a National Olympic Committee (NOC) can have a maximum of 12 skaters at the Olympics across the two categories of street and park. For example, USA could have three skaters in each of the four finals.

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How does a skater qualify?

There are three routes:

  1. The three highest placed skaters at the 2020 World Skateboarding Championships will automatically qualify.
  2. Another 16 people will qualify through the Olympic World Skateboarding Rankings.
  3. One final place will be reserved for host country Japan and will be allocated to the highest ranked Japanese athlete.

What are the Olympic World Skateboarding Rankings (OWSR)?

Skaters will be able to pick up points that count towards the new ranking system from May 2019 all the way up to June 2020.

Each event has a specific ‘treasure chest’ of points available.

For a more comprehensive look at the numbers behind rankings system, then you can have a look at this from the federation World Skate.

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When are the qualification events?

Official Olympic qualifying started for street at the World Skate/SLS London Stop. Nyjah Huston took the win in the men's with Brazil's Pamela Rosa taking the first women's win.

Dew Tour Long Beach on June 13-16 will be the first qualification event for Park. There will also be a street event at that competition which will count towards the rankings system.

The full calendar for the 2019 skateboarding season is below.

STREET

June 10-16, 2019

Dew Tour - Long Beach, USA (5-Star Event)

July 23-28, 2019

World Skate/SLS Pro Tour Stop 2 - Los Angeles, USA (Pro Tour Event)

September 3-8, 2019

International Skateboarding Open (ISO) - Qingfeng, China (5-Star Event)

September 17-22, 2019

World Skate/SLS World Championships - Mexico City, Mexico

PARK

June 10-16, 2019

Dew Tour - Long Beach, USA (5-Star Event)

July 14-19, 2019

International Skateboarding Open (ISO) - Nanjing, China (5-Star Event)

September 10-15, 2019

World Skate World Championships by Skate Total Urbe (STU) - Sao Paulo, Brazil

Further dates and competitions for the 2020 season are still to be finalised. The last date skaters can earn points will be May 31, 2020.

How are the Olympic places allocated in the rankings system?

There are 16 available places for each event and gender from the rankings system.

But only three skaters from one nation can qualify.

For example, Brazil can only qualify three athletes in the men’s street even though there may be more than three Brazilians in the ranking’s top 16.

Once the three spots have been taken up, then it moves down to the next nation that hasn’t filled up its quota.

The idea is to have all continents represented: Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania, and America.

The highest ranked skater from each continent will also be picked if they haven’t already qualified.

How is a skater’s ranking calculated for Olympic qualification?

The top three points results from the 2019 season (May 2019 – 15 September 2019) will be added to the highest six points results from the 2020 season (16 September 2019 – 31 May 2020) to establish an athlete’s final position ahead of Tokyo 2020.

Where can I find the rankings?

The rankings will be updated every Tuesday following a weekend’s competition at the WorldSkate website.

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