Skateboarding is one of four sports making its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 as part of the Games’ efforts to appeal to a more youthful and urban audience. After hosts Japan won both gold medals in the street events, who is expected to top the podium in the park competitions? Read on for our Tokyo 2020 skateboarding park preview.
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Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Skateboarding park schedule
All dates listed as according to Japan Standard Time (UTC+9).
Wednesday, August 4: Women’s park event.
Thursday, August 5: Men’s park event.
How will the skateboarding park events work at Tokyo 2020?
The skateboarding park events will take place at the Ariake Urban Sports Park. Both the Men and Women’s competitions will feature 20 skaters and be comprised of a preliminary round followed by a final.
The park skateboarding events will take place in a setting that emulates a purpose-built skate park. It will therefore feature components including halfpipes and quarterpipes, obstacles such as rails, ramps, and slopes, and other landmarks designed to be jumped over or have tricks performed upon.
Each skater will perform three 45-second runs, which are rated by five judges on a zero to 100-point scale. To calculate each run score, the highest and lowest ratings awarded for the run are dismissed and the remaining three are averaged. The highest score achieved among the three runs is then submitted as their final score.
Tokyo 2020 Skateboarding park: Women’s favourites
Japan’s Misugu Okamoto leads the betting market for the Women’s competition as the 1.621* favourite. The 15-year-old won this event at the 2019 World Skateboarding Championship and has already secured her legacy by becoming the first-ever female skater to land a Kickflip Indy in a professional competition. As with street champions Yuto Horigome and Momiji Nishiya, she will also be hoping to benefit from home advantage.
Her biggest threat to the gold medal appears to be compatriot Sakura Yosozumi (2.790*). Yosozumi took skateboarding gold for her country at the 2018 Asian Games and also collected bronze medals at the X Games and Nitro World Games in the same year.
Other medal hopes include Sky Brown (4.110*). The 13-year-old is the youngest athlete ever to compete for Great Britain at a Summer Olympics, but can already boast a strong CV including a bronze medal at the 2019 World Skateboarding Championship and gold at this year’s X Games. The latter was particularly impressive as it came after she suffered several skull fractures and a broken left wrist and hand following a fall in May 2020.
Lizzie Armanto (7.330*) – who has opted to represent Finland despite being US-born – will be hoping to add to her gold medal at the 2018 Nitro World Games. The first female skater in history to complete the 360-degree ramp The Loop, she enters Tokyo 2020 in strong form.
Tokyo 2020 Skateboarding park: Men’s favourites
The odds are struggling to separate American duo Heimana Reynolds and Cory Juneau (both 2.290*) for the Men’s event. Reynolds finished 2020 as the top-ranked male park skater and collected a silver and gold medal respectively from his last two appearances at the World Championship.
Juneau is revered for his consistently bold displays, which often feature a reliance on considerable speed to pull off equally impressive and daring tricks. While it is difficult to envisage anything other than a podium spot for the 22-year-old if he turns in an error-free performance, the risk involved in his routines does occasionally backfire, as highlighted when a fall at the 2019 World Championship meant that he could only finish in 16th.
Narrowly trailing the pair in the odds is Brazil’s Luiz Francisco (4.450*). The 21-year-old took silver behind Reynolds at the 2019 World Championship, and also finished seventh at the X Games in the same year. Brazil won silver in both of the skateboarding street events at Tokyo 2020 and Francisco is certainly more than capable of adding to their medal haul at the Ariake Urban Sports Park.
Finally, Jagger Eaton (5.190*) will be aiming to become to first-ever dual medallist in Olympic skateboarding. The versatile 20-year-old earned bronze in the Men’s street event, adding to a medal-adorned last few years that included a silver in the park event at the 2019 X Games. Along with Reynolds and Juneau, the American could contribute towards an all-US podium in this event.
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