Confused About How Skateboarding at the Olympics Works? Park vs. Street Skating, Explained


Jul. 23 2021, Published 5:54 p.m. ET

Street skateboarding course
Source: NBC Olympics

The Summer Olympics are upon us, and athletes from around the world have gathered in Tokyo to compete. In 2014, skateboarding was added to the list of official Olympic sports when the International Olympic Committee opened the floor so organizers could add provisional new events for the games they host.

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The sport will also be included at the 2024 Paris Olympics, but Tokyo organizers were the first to pitch it.

So, how does skateboarding at the Olympics work? Here's the difference between park vs. street skateboarding, and more.

A skateboarder prepares for the Tokyo Olympics skateboarding events.
Source: Getty Images
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The two skateboarding categories at the Olympics are park and street.

For those confused about skateboarding at the Olympics, thankfully, the Tokyo Olympics official page has you covered. The two disciplines in which boarders will be able to participate are park and street. The differences between the two types include the venue shape and the variety of tricks available to perform for points, but they don't stop there.

Park skateboarders compete in a course that resembles a fishbowl. Skaters launch themselves off the sides of the walls in 45-second runs and perform tricks that are judged by a panel of five judges. Skaters get three 45-second runs per round, and the judges grade them on a 0-100 point scale. A skater's best score of three is the qualifying score.

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Source: Twitter

The Tokyo Olympics page notes that the excitement of park skating lies in the "immense heights achieved by climbing the curves at speed and performing amazing mid-air tricks." Street skating is also very exciting, but presents the opportunity to showcase a range of different skills.

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Street skateboarding takes place on a street-like course that includes handrails, curbs, benches, walls, and slopes. Athletes use the available obstacles to perform tricks, and a panel of five judges scores them. Each skater gets two 45-second runs and five tricks, and judges rate the tricks on a 0-10 scale. The highest and lowest scores for each run and trick are dropped, and the remaining three scores are averaged.

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The Tokyo Olympics note that there is a large amount of creativity in street skateboarding, as riders are free to pick and choose which tricks to perform and which course to tackle. They also explain that judges take into account "the overall flow, timing, consistency, and the extent skateboarders can create the sensation of being suspended in mid-air" as part of their scoring.

When can I watch the Olympic skateboarding?

Many will want the opportunity to catch the first glimpse of this exciting new Olympic sport. The following schedule is noted by the Washington Post, and all skate times are marked in Eastern Standard Time.

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Men’s street prelims: July 24, beginning at 8 p.m.

Men’s street final: July 24, 11:25 p.m.

Women’s street prelims: July 25, beginning at 8 p.m.

Women’s street final: July 25, 11:25 p.m.

Women’s park prelims: Aug. 3, beginning at 8 p.m.

Women’s park final: Aug. 3, 11:30 p.m.

Men’s park prelims: Aug. 4, beginning at 8 p.m.

Men’s park final: Aug. 4, 11:30 p.m.

Fans of famed skateboarder Tony Hawk wonder if the star will be participating in the Tokyo Olympics. Unfortunately, he is only commentating, but as of July 22, 2021, he couldn't resist giving the Ariake Urban Sports Park course a test run before competitors tried it for themselves.

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