The Olympic street skateboarding qualifiers are beginning! What to look out for at the first event in Rome

Discover how to watch the world’s best skateboarders, including the competition format, scoring and moves to look out for. 

By Sean McAlister
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Skateboarding made its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 - and it’s back for Paris 2024!

The Tokyo 2020 street competition produced the youngest Olympic podium in history, with an average age of 14 in the women’s competition, while the men’s competition saw thrills, spills and plenty of skill as the world’s best skateboarders lit up the Olympic stage.

Now, with the first qualifying event for Paris 2024 about to begin on 26 June, find out everything you need to know about the sport in our handy guide to skateboarding street.

Athletes: Skateboarders to look out for at the Olympic qualifier in Rome

The skateboarding street qualifier in Rome brings back together every one of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic medallists in both the women’s and men’s competitions.

In the men’s competition the favourites will be world no. 1 Nyjah Huston of the USA and Olympic gold medallist Horigome Yuto of Japan.

Huston has become a legend of the sport, racking up six World Championship gold medals and 12 Summer X-Games golds in his career. However, when it comes to Olympic competition, the Californian dynamo may feel he has unfinished business. In the final of the Tokyo 2020 street competition, he finished an uncharacteristic seventh. But at 27 years old he still has every opportunity to show his best when the Paris Games begin in two years’ time.

Japan’s Horigome was a revelation in Tokyo. In front of a home crowd the then 22-year-old scored a massive 37.18 out of a possible 40 to take home the first-ever Olympic gold medal in the sport.

Watch out also for Olympic silver medallist, Kelvin Hoefler of Brazil and bronze medallist Jagger Eaton from the USA, as well as Japan’s Shirai Sora. Hoefler is currently ranked fourth in the world, Eaton eighth and Shirai sits in third - just behind Huston and Horigome.

Brazilian and Japanese skateboarders will be the favourites in the women’s competition, with the current world no. 1 Pamela Rosa just ahead of compatriot and Olympic silver medallist Rayssa Leal in the rankings. Leal was only 13 when she wowed Tokyo with her silver medal performance, while 22-year-old Rosa finished 10th in Japan.

They will have to be on top of their game to see off the challenge of the Japanese women's skateboarding team, including Olympic champion Nishiya Momiji, bronze medallist Nakayama Funa and world no. 3 Nishimura Aori.

Nishiya stunned the watching world in Japan by winning Olympic gold aged only 13, having also won a silver medal at the world championships just a year earlier in Rome.

Straight after her victory in Tokyo, the Olympic champion immediately turned her attention to the next Games in Paris, saying: “I want to be the famous one who everyone in the world knows. I want to win at Paris 2024 too.”

Now she has the chance to get her journey to Paris started at the first qualifying event in Rome.

How skateboarding street will be judged at Paris 2024

There have been some significant changes to the skateboarding street scoring system for Paris 2024 that come into effect at the Olympic qualifier in Rome.

Each competitor will still complete two runs of 45 seconds each, followed by a trick phase. However, while Tokyo 2020 saw individual tricks and runs scored between 0 and 10, with the best four scores combined to give a total score of between 0 and 40 - regardless of whether the scores were obtained in the trick or run phase, Paris 2024 will be different.

For the qualifiers and Games-time competition of Paris 2024, tricks and runs will each be scored between 0 and 100, with one run and two tricks counting towards a final score of between 0 and 300.

The change has come into effect to provide more equality between the value of the trick and run phases.

READ MORE: How the scoring for skateboarding street will work at Paris 2024

The skateboarding street competition format

As mentioned, skateboarders in Rome will complete two runs of 45 seconds, followed by a phase of tricks.

The top five ranked athletes in the Olympic World Skate Ranking and medallists from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will skip the Open Qualifier and go straight into the following competition phase.

All skaters ranked sixth to 30th who are not Olympic medallists will be seeded to the Open Qualifier.

The top five ranked athletes in the Olympic World Skate Ranking (OWSR) of each gender, and all Tokyo2020 Olympic Games medallists, will skip the Open Qualifier and be pre-seeded directly into the following competition phase. Skaters ranked 6th to 30th will be seeded to the Open Qualifier.

The top 32 athletes of each gender from the Open Qualifier will advance to the quarterfinal with the best of two runs counting towards their score. In the quarterfinal, the top 16 skateboarders of each gender will advance to the semi-finals, with the best of two runs counting towards their score.

The semi-finals take on the new Olympic scoring format, with each skateboarder completing two runs and five tricks. The best run and two tricks scores count towards their total, with the top eight athletes per gender advancing to the finals.

In the final, the podium will again be decided using the new Olympic scoring format, with each athlete receiving a score of between 0 and 300 based on the score of their best run and best two tricks.

Top tricks to know about in skateboarding

Rotations

Look out for rotations during the Paris 2024, as skateboarders literally rotate their bodies and skateboards to different degrees. While it's common to see 180 and 360 degree rotations, the very best will attempt to drop a 540 in competition.

Hand plants

Hand plants involve a skateboarder inverting their position so they are held up by a one-handed handstand with the skateboard still stuck to their feet.

Grinds

There are a large variety of grinds in skateboarding, where the athlete uses different parts of the board to slide down rails or the edge of other obstacles. The parts of the board skateboarders use to grind include trucks, front of deck, back of deck, one truck, both trucks - and many other variations to producing jaw-dropping tricks.

Foot plant

Often referred to as a no comply. the foot plant sees skateboarders do a similar trick to a hand plant but using their foot.

Grabs

Grabs involve grabbing your board with your hands in mid-air, either in front of or behind your legs.

Ally-oop

One of the most well-known tricks in skateboarding, the alley-oop is similar to a rotation but involves stalling in the air at the top.

PATHWAY TO PARIS 2024: SKATEBOARDING

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