It’s official – skateboarding will make its debut in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Yep, it is actually happening.
Yesterday, the International Olympic Committee confirmed the addition of five new sports. Skateboarding, surfing, climbing, baseball/softball and karate will all make their Olympic debut in Tokyo in four years’ time.
The five sports will include 18 new events and 474 athletes, with equal numbers of women and men for all sports (except baseball/softball).
Men and women’s street and park skateboarding have been included ahead of other roller sports, such as: roller hockey, speed skating and artistic skating. A total of 80 skaters will compete in each ‘discipline’.
So how’s it going to work?
According to the official Tokyo 2020 website, “In the skateboarding competitions, there will be two disciplines: park and street. For the park competition, a course called a ‘combination pool’, which contains bowls and pools in a complex combination with ramps and course bends, will be used. For the street competition, a street-like course with stairs, kerbs, slopes and rails will be used. In both disciplines, skaters will be scored based on the degree of difficulty, consistency in completing tricks, the overall routine, speed and originality.”
But wait, here’s the clincher from Tokyo 2020:
“Skateboarders are judged mainly on the degree of difficulty of tricks; however, speed and scale can make a significant difference in scores of the same trick. A routine performed within the timeframe is a major factor in demonstrating the skater's characteristics and abilities. In the park competition, tricks such as high-speed sailing through the air and somersault dismounts like in gymnastics are attractions. In the street competition, tricks in which it is difficult for skaters to keep their balance, such as a skater jumping off the skateboard while rotating it intricately and jumping on it again, are considered challenging tricks. ‘Cool’ is frequently used when praising skaters. Cool skaters who perform difficult tricks, while staying calm, can be potential winners.”
That is taken from the official Tokyo 2020 website. Mind-blowing.
Artist impression images sourced from olympic.org.
The IOC has dubbed their decision “the most comprehensive evolution of the Olympic programme in modern history,” as stated on olympic.org. “Plans call for staging the skateboarding and sports climbing events in temporary venues installed in urban settings, marking a historic step in bringing the Games to young people and reflecting the trend of urbanisation of sport.”
IOC President Thomas Bach said, "We want to take sport to the youth. We have to go to them."
Discussions on the event programme in the existing 28 Olympic sports for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 are ongoing, and will be finalised by the IOC Executive Board in mid-2017.
Buckle up – shit’s gonna get weird.