With just 425 days until skateboarding debuts at the Olympics, it was about time the IOC publicly clarified the exact qualification process. Certain chunks of information have been floating around for months now, but with scarce official word and conflicting reports from just about every corner of skateboard media, we've finally received information which sets the record (somewhat) straight.
You can head over here for the IOC's official qualification guide, but we've summed it up for you below.
As covered in the past, Olympic skateboarding will be split into two disciplines: Street (think Street League) and Park (think Vans Park Series). The Street contests will take place on July 26 & 27, while the Park events will be held on August 6 & 7. Good to know.
80 places are available for skateboarding at Tokyo 2020. More specifically, 20 places per gender, per discipline. That means 20 men will compete in Street, 20 women will compete in Park, and so forth.
There's also nothing stopping, say, Jagger Eaton, from qualifying in both Park and Street. In this case, he would take up one place in each. Hence usage of the term "place" instead of "skater".
Each country is allowed a maximum of three skaters per discipline, per gender. Even if the top 20 ranked Men's Street skaters were all Brazilian, for example, only the top 3 would qualify for the Olympics. This means a maximum of 12 skaters from any one country could potentially qualify - 3 in Men's Street, 3 in Women's Street, 3 in Men's Park, and 3 in Women's Park.
Contrary to popular belief, countries don't just select teams and send them off to Tokyo. So even though the USA has announced its teams, none of those skaters are actually guaranteed a place in the Olympics. You still have to qualify on merit.
There are three qualification routes:
Skaters will be able to pick up points that count towards this new ranking system from May 2019 all the way up to June 2020. The first event with available points was last weekend's Street League contest in London.
Each event has a specific ‘treasure chest’ of points available, depending on the event's importance and prestige.
Rankings aren't simply drawn from Street League and Vans Park Series results, as was previously reported. For example, the first Park points are up for grabs at the Dew Tour Long Beach event on June 13-16. There will also be a Dew Tour Street event, and that will count towards Street rankings. In all, five types of contests will count towards the Olympic World Skateboarding Rankings:
There are a further two SLS dates confirmed for Los Angeles (July 27-28) and Mexico City (September 18-22). All further dates and competitions are still to be finalised. The last date skaters can earn points will be May 31, 2020.
Exact event classifications have not been released, although it's fair to assume that SLS Super Crown & Park Series World Championships will be considered 'World Championship' events, while regular SLS and Park Series events will be 'Pro Tour Events'. As for the others? Your guess is as good as ours.
Interestingly, the highest ranked skater from each of Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania, and America will also qualify, assuming they haven't already qualified through the ranking system. Africa, for example, currently doesn't have a skater in the top 20, but the top-ranked African will qualify regardless.
Considering barely any qualifying events have been confirmed, it's fair to say the Olympic organisers themselves are still a little confused. While this new information clears things up a little, it's still a pretty convoluted mess in the grand scheme of things. We recommend kicking back while the qualification process unfolds, and we'll keep you up-to-date with any further developments.
Written by the Chairman of the Fred Gall Fanclub
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