All right, so, skateboarding is in the Olympics! It was only a matter of time. Considering that fact that skateboarding is much more popular and assessable than some of the sports that are already in the Olympics. Sports like curling, fencing, rowing and polo (where each player needs a freaking horse!). So it is not much of a surprise that skateboarding is now an Olympic sport.
Existing Skateboarding Contests
There are a lot of different types of skateboarding contests out there. You have street, park, vert (Where the ramp is so big that it gets to a point where it is straight up and down), big air, best trick, etc… And that is just a basic list, there are many others out there. Inside those types you have different formats for the contest itself.
The answer is there will only be two different types. Park and street, both Men’s and Women’s. This is interesting, why did they only include these two? There will be not vert, even though vert is the way the sport’s first contests were held. There are plenty of skaters that are absolutely amazing on a halfpipe, both men and women.
Some the most progressive skateboarding happens on a vert ramp. The Ollie was invented on vert. One of the most memorable moments in all of sports is Tony Hawk landing The 900 at the X-Games. That was on a vert ramp. But this contest is not in the Olympics this time. Maybe the 2024 Olympics will be different.
So for now it is the street contest and the park contest. These two contests have two very different formats. The two are held on two different types of parks. These are usually built for the contest.
Street Skateboarding Park
The street contest will probably be the kind of set up that Street League has been using. This is a rectangular set and with different street style obstacles. There is usually a large stair set that has a big handrail on it. A smaller rail is usually somewhere else in the park.
A gap of some kind is also a stable part of most courses, this can sometimes be two ramps with a gap in between them. Sometimes there is what is called a “euro gap”, this is when there is a slanted ramp going up but then there is a chunk missing that you have to jump up to get up to the top. You can do tricks up this.
Another part of the course is usually some kind of ledge that you can do tricks on. Then there is usually a quarter pipe at one end so that after a skater goes through the obstacles they then gets sent back through the obstacles again going the other direction. This is good so that the skater, after going through the obstacles, does not have to completely stop and then start again, but keeps his momentum.
Street Skateboarding Scoring System
The street format is going to be the format that is used in the Street League series. This means that there will be two runs, then 5 attempts at a best trick. Each run and each best trick are given a score between 0 and 10.0. The best 5 scores are combined to give each skater a final score. If the skater does not land the trick on the best trick section then they get a 0.
Here would be and example of a skater’s score throughout one contest:
Run 1 Run 2 trick 1 trick 2 trick 3 trick 4 trick 5 total
Joe: 6.7 7.8 0.0 8.1 7.8 0.0 9.2 39.6
This means that you have to have a balance of tricks that you can land and that have a high level of difficulty, because if you have more than two zeros on your scoreboard then your score will be greatly affected.
Park-Style Skateboarding Park
Then the Park style format is completely different. The park setup is a different course entirely. These come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s always interesting to see how each skater uses this type of park.
It is usually one large bowl with many different obstacles, and many sized quaterpipes in it. Not all of them are regular quarterpipes. There could be banked walls, which means instead of the curve that you see on a normal quaterpipe the slant wall has a curve at the bottom but just continues straight up at an angle.
Then there can be ramps or other obstacles in the middle of the bowl that the skater can do other tricks on or use to get more speed. And then on top of that there are usually some small additional obstacles on the outside that skaters can use as well. This opens the door to more creativity. Each park skater has their own style and tricks that they like, so each skater skates the park differently.
Park-Style Skateboarding Scoring System
The actual contest format goes with each skater putting together a 45 second run. This consists as many or as few tricks as the skater wants or can do. The more tricks the better, as that will increase your score. You also get points for creativity on your use of the course. So using the outside obstacles come in handy.
Each skater gets 4 runs. Each run is scored out of 100.0. This is determined by a panel of judges who look at a bunch of different critera. These are:
- Difficulty of Tricks
- Skateboarding Style
- Use or Creativity of the course
- Combination of tricks
After the skater does their run, the judge gives them a score they see fit based off the above criteria.
With the winner being decided by just the score of one run, it is different than the street contest. In the street contest, there can be a few skaters that have no chance of winning near the end. Their scores in the beginning of the contest are too low, and not even a perfect score would allow them to place first.
But, in park contests with the single run score, you could have a skater that did not land a trick the entire previous three runs (unlikely) have an amazing run on their last run and jump to first place. It makes it very exciting and means that no one is ever out of the contest. Anyone can put together the winning run and take home the gold.
Get Ready for the Excitement
With the pressure and energy being so high at the Olympics it is going to be exciting to see. This will be the biggest audience that that most of these skaters have ever skated in front of. With an even bigger television audience, I think that we are going to see some amazing skating.
A lot of these skaters thrive off of energy like this so they will go bigger and harder. I for one am very excited for it. We can’t wait to see what we are going to see going down in these contest. We’ll probably see some things we’ve never seen before. These skaters are going to push themselves to really go all out, regardless of what obstacle they are skating.
It’s also exciting to see how skateboarding progresses after the Olympics. New skaters will emerge year after year, and it’s going to be a really exciting time for skateboarding.
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