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 the Tokyo 2020 Games in 2021.

By Edward Knowles

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 2021, we have all the answers.

When are the skateboard events at the Tokyo 2020 Games in 2021?

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

Street will be on 25/26 July 2021, with park on 5/6 August 2021.

Street 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.

Just go out there and send it – Nyjah Huston’s motto

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 2019 World Championships with Brazil's Pamela Rosa taking the win in the women’s category.

Read our exclusive interview with Nyjah Huston here.

A 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 16 years old and is already a two-time X Games medallist in the women’s park terrain.

Representing Great Britain, Sky Brown could be one of the stand out stars of the whole Olympic Games. Aged just 12, she has burst onto the contest scene placing above seasoned professionals like Lizzie Armanto.

In the men’s, Brazilian Pedro Barros won at the 2018 World Skate Park World Championships and is one of the most stylish skaters around.

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

How many skateboarders will qualify for the Olympics in 2021?

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 at the Tokyo Olympics?

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.

How does an athlete qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic skateboarding in 2021?

There are three routes:

  1. The three highest placed skaters at the 2021 World Skateboarding Championships will automatically qualify.
  2. Another 16 people will qualify through the Olympic World Skateboarding Rankings (OWSR).
  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 are able to pick up points that count towards the new ranking system from October 2019 – June 29 2021.

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.

When are the Tokyo Olympic skateboard qualification events?

The pandemic has greatly affected opportunities for skaters to perform at contests. But there are still a few in the calendar.

STREET

May 20-23, 2021

Dew Tour - De Moines, Iowa

May30-6, 2021

Street World Championships 2021

PARK

May 20-23, 2021

Dew Tour - De Moines, Iowa

There are plans for a Park World Championships from June 14 to 20, 2021 but further details (including a location) are yet to be confirmed.

The last date skaters can earn points will be June 29, 2020. The official Olympic start list is expected a week later.

How are the Olympic places allocated in the skateboard 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?

Calculators at the ready because this isn't easy!

The top two points results from the 2019 season (January 1 2019 – September 30 2019) are be added to the highest four placings from the '2020' season (October 1 2019 – June 29 2021) to establish the athletes final position.

It means some top skaters may choose to skip certain events as their place is effectively confirmed in the rankings already.

Where can I find the Olympic World Skateboard Rankings?

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