Skateboarding in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
With the 2020 Summer Olympics a little less than two years away, let’s take a look at the history of one sport that is being added to the Olympic lineup for the first time ever: skateboarding. With other mainstream sports, like baseball, basketball, American football, or soccer (football), which were all invented before the 1900s, skateboarding is a relatively young sport with its streets being paved in the 1960s.
From attaching metal roller skates to a wooden board, to the multi-ply popsicle shaped shortboard of today, the sport has progressed fairly quickly in such a short amount of time.
The first radical change for the sport came with the invention of the first urethane wheels in the 1970s. This allowed skaters to have a smoother ride, and offered more control than the clay and metal wheels that were used in the past.
Also, in the late 70s, due to a drought, people in California drained their pools. Skaters used these pools as a new terrain, and bowl skating was born. In the 1980s, skaters turned to skating the obstacles around them: banks, curbs, and benches—thus, street skating was born.
In the 1990s, the X Games helped launch skateboarding into the mainstream, as it is a televised event. With many quality skateparks built and lessons being taught everywhere, the new generation of skateboarders are going to be a force to reckon with, and they will be taking the sport to new heights. There isn’t a limit to where skateboarding can go, however, it is up to the rider and their creativity. From CJ Collins to Brighton Zeuner to Gavin Bottger, skateboarding is in good hands.
With skateboarding’s roots grounded in anti-authoritarian vibes and not wanting to be taken fulling into the mainstream, it will be interesting to see how the sport evolves after it takes a world stage at the Olympic games. The two events being contested on the men and women’s side of skateboarding are park and street (with street consisting of stairs, ledges, and rails). Riders get three-timed runs to post their best score.
Park consists of a transition style course that mixes vert ramps with other obstacles throughout the course.
Below are the list of top contenders for the USA in no particular order. With so many talented athletes in the field of skateboarding nowadays, it is hard to make a shortlist of who might ultimately walk away with gold at the upcoming 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Top Park Athletes for the USA:
Women: Lizzie Armanto, Jordyn Barratt, Brighton Zeuner
Men: Alex Sorgente, Tom Schaar, Cory Juneau
Top Street Athletes for the USA:
Women: Mariah Duran, Lacey Baker, Alexis Sablone
Men: Nyjah Huston, Louie Lopez, Dashawan Jordan
Either way, it’s a leap forward for the sport and the culture. 2020 will be groundbreaking.