How is it that we’re less than two years away from seeing skateboarding at the Olympics, but we still have no idea what Olympic Sk8 will look like? There’s tidbits of info and plenty of speculation about qualifications, uniforms, and drug testing, but no single, reliable source laying everything out. The one rulebook out there isn’t the easiest to find and loaded with “official” jargon that 99.9% won’t care to read.
We’ve had (and will continue having) a lot of fun roasting the very idea of Olympic skating, but curious to know what we’re up against, we decided to see what we could find out.
So after pulling info from various sources, including a Berrics interview with Josh Friedberg, Director of Skateboarding for World Skate, then reaching out to Josh for more details, we cobbled together this little summary. Now the next time your cousin asks if Bam Margera is gonna wear a leotard in the Olympics, you can have a better answer than, “Honestly, maybe.”
Men’s & Women’s Street
Men’s & Women’s Park
As of now in the U.S., the Opening Ceremony will be on NBC on Friday, July 24th, 2020. Men’s Street will be on Saturday, July 25, Women’s Street will be on Sunday, July 26th, Women’s Park will be on Tuesday, August 4th, and Men’s Park will be on Wednesday, August 5th.
Skaters have the chance to get points over two seasons of events. The events will be fully announced this summer . There will be regional events, like national and continental championships, as well as professional-level events, so nobody will be blocked out of participation.
The 2019 season is January 1, 2019 – September 15, 2019. The second season starts September 16, 2019 – May 31, 2020. They will take the top three points totals from the 2019 season and the top six points totals from the 2020 season and add them up.
WHO IS RUNNING THIS THING?
World Skate. The ISF (International Skate Federation) and FIRS (Federation of Roller Sports) joined forces following some statute changes, re-branding as World Skate in September 2017. Last year, World Skate submitted their qualification process to the IOC.
WHERE CAN I SEE IT?
All the skateboarding in Tokyo will be televised. Skateboarding is one of NBC’s biggest coverage priorities for 2020.
WHO IS PICKING THE SKATERS?
Federations, like the CBSk of Brazil, have already announced a national team. This does not mean these skaters will be in the Olympics, but they will be given resources to train from their government. The United States government does not fund any national Olympic teams, but many other governments do.
WILL THERE BE COACHES?
The closest thing skaters have to a coach is usually a team manager or filmer who acts as a mentor and helps facilitate their careers. Many of the top skateboarders also have managers, agents, trainers, and more. The U.S. is aiming to train and empower these support personnel around skateboarders to fulfill the role of a traditional coach. In countries with a less developed skateboarding culture, they are looking for coaches in order to jumpstart the level of their skateboarders. The only people on the skate courses in Tokyo will be the skaters themselves.
There will be 20 skaters in each competition. There can be no more than three (3) skaters from each country in any one event (men’s park, women’s park, men’s street, women’s street). Even if you are near the top of the rankings, if three other skaters from your country are ranked higher, your ranking does not matter.
Not every country is subject to have a skater in the event, except for Japan as the host nation. However, there must be a minimum of one (1) skater from each of the five (5) continental regions. If there is not a skater in the top 20 for an event from one of the regions, the 20th ranked person will be removed and the top-ranked from the absent region will be placed in the event, regardless of their overall ranking.
Judges for all the Olympic Qualifying events will be provided and certified by World Skate. A lot of the top judges from contests now are part of the certified pool of skateboarding judges.
The certification process is expected to begin in the next 60 days. What we do know is that there must be a five-person panel and one head judge for international-level events.
World Skate spent four days in China earlier this year doing an International Skateboarding Judging Commission workshop with 17 skateboarders from 11 countries in an effort to make sure the way contests are judged continues to support the positive growth of skateboarding summed up as “progression over perfection.” More info on the criteria here.
STREET LEAGUE AFFILIATION?
Along with SLS and the World Championship, there are other pro tour events, which will be sanctioned as qualifiers until 2022. World Skate is working on a deal for a park series that can act as the counterpart to SLS and street qualifying.
All of the World Skate national federations will also be hosting a National Championship every year. There will be continental championships for park riders at all of the five continental regions, beginning next year. These events allow people that do not have easy access leaving their nation to participate and gain points.
There will also be Five-Star Events that will be pro-level competitions. There will be up to three each year, both for park and street.
WHY NO LONGBOARDING OR VERT?
Street and Park are the most popular and widespread skateboarding disciplines worldwide. There aren’t enough world-class female vert skaters outside of the top few countries right now and because the events in Tokyo are gender-equal, they chose events that had the most skateboarders globally. World Skate hopes for there to be additional disciplines added in the future.
The WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) prohibits certain drugs. They test two times – in-competition and out-of-competition. You can see the full list of prohibited substances and methods here. Skaters can also check the status of any drug they take here. If they test positive it’s going to be 100% their responsibility.
Most inhalers are prohibited, supplements are sketchy because they’re not FDA-approved and can literally contain anything – one of the popular workout supplements from a few years ago had meth in it. CBD or cannabidiol is not prohibited, but because it’s not FDA-regulated either, it can contain THC. Recreational drugs like alcohol and weed are only prohibited in-competition, but skaters must be cautious of how long weed stays in their body (it’s different for everyone).
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) is required to report any athlete sanctions on their website. No skateboarders have made that list, yet.
There are no age minimums or maximums for Olympic skateboarders. The minimum age criteria is usually instituted to protect athletes from injuries. If you’re talented enough to qualify for the Olympic Games then you’re able to deal with the inherent risks of skateboarding as well as anyone of any age.
The apparel (clothing and accessories) skateboarders wear in Tokyo will ultimately be up to the National Olympic Committees and National Governing bodies in each country.
Skaters will not be able to wear their normal sponsors’ clothing during the Olympic Games or at other events where they’ll be representing US National Team like the PanAms and Youth Olympic Games. They will be able to wear their sponsors’ apparel at any of the standard contests in skateboarding like Street League, Vans Park Series, Dew Tour, X Games, and the Continental and World Championship events.
The apparel also has to comply with the Rule 50 guidelines from the IOC which specify things like logo size and placement, and what is considered “sports equipment.”
Shoes and skateboards are classified as sports equipment under Rule 50. That means skateboarders can wear their sponsors’ shoes and ride their sponsors’ skateboards (decks, trucks, wheels, hardware, bearings, grip tape, rails) in the Olympics as long as they are available on the retail consumer market six months prior to the Games.
After reviewing three applicants, the Tokyo Organizing Committee has selected CA Skateparks to design the skate courses for the Games.
contributions to skating
With government funding for skateboarding turned on in hundreds of countries worldwide, World Skate is working with the National Olympic Committees and National Governing Bodies to make sure the skateparks they build will be unique, well-designed, and well-built.