How Skateboarding Works at the Olympics

The Olympic Games will be welcoming skateboarding as a new discipline at Tokyo 2020. Despite having been delayed a year, skateboarding will still be going ahead, with heats starting on July 25 (July 24 for the U.S.)

Alongside skateboarding, three new sports join the Tokyo 2020 roster: surfing, karate and sports climbing. Baseball and softball are making their return to the competition after a 13-year absence.

But skateboarding is the sport already sparking interest in fans who have long anticipated its arrival at the Games.

In total, 80 skateboarders from 26 countries are scheduled to compete—40 men and 40 women.

We break down how the skateboarding competition works, and when it is broadcast.

The Rules of Skateboarding at the Tokyo Olympics 2020

There are two different skateboarding competitions for men and women at the Olympics: park and street.

Park features skateboarding in what is known as a skate park, where the bowl shape allows competitors to gain momentum on the nearly vertical sides to perform tricks while airbound.

In street skateboarding, items that you wound encounter in the streets, like park benches and railings, are used to perform tricks.

Japanese skateboarder Yuto Horigome
Yuto Horigome of Team Japan practices on the skateboard street course ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games at the Ariake Urban Sports Park on July 22, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. The Ariake Urban Sports Park will host skateboarding and BMX cycling events. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The park competition consists of two rounds, the prelims and the finals.

In the first round, 20 skaters will compete in four heats of five competitors.

Each skateboarder performs three runs of 45 seconds, each of which will be scored by five judges. The top eight skaters will proceed to the final.

The final will play out in the same way, with the highest scorer winning the gold medal.

In street, the rounds and rankings work in the same way except the skaters will perform two 45-second runs rather than three.

The main difference between street and park, other than the setting, is in the scoring and the requirements for each run.

How Scoring Works in Skateboarding

US skateboarder Cory Juneau
Cory Juneau competing in the Men's Park Semi-Final at the Dew Tour in May. Cory Juneau is to compete in the park event. Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

In the park event, the five judges give a score out of 100.00 for each of the three runs performed by a skater.

To calculate the skater's score, the highest and lowest scores of a run are dropped, and the three remaining are averaged to two decimal places. A skater's best run counts as the qualifying score.

In street, things work a little differently, as five judges give a score out of 10.0 on the runs as well as on a required number of five tricks. They grade each run and trick on the zero-to-10 scale.

Again, the highest and lowest scores for each run or trick are dropped, and the three remaining are averaged. Adding the four highest run or trick scores provides the skater's qualifying score. Again, the top eight skaters of the preliminary round move on to the medal round.

Who Is Skateboarding for Team USA?

US skateboarder Mariah Duran
U.S. skateboarder Mariah Duran at the Street League Skateboarding championship in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2019. She will take part in the street competition. Nelson Almeida/Getty Images

Team USA consists of 12 skaters. Here is the full list:

  • Jordyn Barratt, 22, women's park
  • Mariah Duran, 24, women's street
  • Jagger Eaton, 20, men's street
  • Nyjah Huston, 26, men's street
  • Jake Ilardi, 24, men's street
  • Cory Juneau, 22, men's park
  • Heimana Reynolds, 22, men's park
  • Alexis Sablone, 34, women's street
  • Alana Smith, 20, women's street
  • Bryce Wettstein, 17, women's park
  • Zion Wright, 22, men's park
  • Brighton Zeuner, 17, women's park

Skateboarders qualified based on world rankings and World Championship wins. Japan also received an entrant in each event as the host country.

Below is the schedule for the skate and park events in ET.

July 24 - Men's street prelims and final - 7:30 p.m. ET

July 25 - Women's street prelims and final - 7:30 p.m. ET

August 3 - Women's park prelims and final - 8:00 p.m. ET

August 4 - Men's park prelims and final - 8:00 p.m. ET

Check your local broadcaster for further information on their TV schedule for the Olympics 2020.

US skateboarder Bryce Wettstein
Bryce Wettstein at the Women's Park Semifinal at the Dew Tour in 2021. Wettstein is to compete in the park event. Sean M Haffey/Getty Images