If there are any lingering preconceptions that skateboarding is a “boys sport”, they’re set to be dispelled at the Olympics 2020, where Team GB is sending two world-class teenage skateboarders.
Sky Brown will become Team GB’s youngest ever summer Olympian, aged 13 years and 11 days when she competes in Tokyo. She will be joined by her teammate, 14-year-old Bombette Martin.
Both teenagers will be making history in the sport, as skateboarding makes its debut on the Olympic stage.
We enjoyed an exclusive catch-up with Sky Brown on the Olympics as part of our Big RT Interview series. She is not at Tokyo to make up the numbers, she’s there to win, and already ranks third in the world for her event.
RadioTimes.com brings you up to speed with everything you need to know about skateboarding at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo in the summer of 2021.
When is skateboarding at the Olympics?
The skateboarding street competition runs between Sunday 25th July until Monday 26th July.
If you’re keen to see Sky and Bombette in action, you’ll have to wait until the skateboarding park event which takes place on Wednesday 4th August and Thursday 5th August.
Check out our guide on how to watch Olympics 2020 or see Olympics on TV today for more details, timings, and exclusive expert analysis from some of the biggest names in world sport over the coming weeks.
Sir Chris Hoy, Beth Tweddle, Rebecca Adlington, Matthew Pinsent and Dame Jess Ennis-Hill are among the stars we have to being their esteemed opinions, so don’t miss what they have to say.
Find out how you can watch the Tokyo 2020 Olympics closing ceremony.
When did skateboarding become an Olympic sport?
Skateboarding will make its debut on the Olympic stage for the first time this year at the Tokyo Olympics, held in 2021.
Which Team GB athletes are in Tokyo?
Skateboarders Sky Brown and Bombette Martin will compete as part of Team GB at the Tokyo Olympics.
James Hope-Gill, CEO at Skateboard GB said, “We are so excited to see two GB skateboarders qualify for the Games. Both girls have such amazing talent and are an inspiration to other skateboarders out there, showing people that anything is possible, no matter your age.
“Over the last two years we have worked with Sky and Bombette to help them with their preparations and today’s announcement shows how their hard work has paid-off. We wish them the best of luck”.
Announcing our first ever #TeamGB skateboarding team— Team GB (@TeamGB) July 1, 2021
Congrats to Sky Brown and Bombette Martin who will compete in Tokyo! 🇯🇵🛹
Proudly supported by @haven #Skateboarding #Olympics pic.twitter.com/jTd3dUY6tF
How to qualify for skateboarding
Sky Brown and Bombette Martin qualified for the Tokyo Olympics during the World Skate qualification season.
Brown and Martin qualified in third and 18th position respectively.
What is the difference between park and street skateboarding?
There are two disciplines in skateboarding: park (which Team GB athletes Brown and Martin specialise in), and street.
Street skateboarding sees competitors skate within public spaces, incorporating the likes of handrails, stairs, street bins and park benches as part of their routines.
Meanwhile, park skateboarding sees competitors skate in specially designed skate parks on smooth, steeply sloping bowls.
Brown and Martin will be judged on their tricks, and on the originality of their skateboarding.
We chatted to extreme sports commentator Ed Leigh who will be live at the Olympics for BBC about each event.
EL: With the parks, there’s no uniform setup. You’ll see similar obstacles, but every course is different.
For the Olympics, they would like to make a statement with these courses, and they are built bigger and more challenging than anywhere else. Certainly, that’s been the case for all of the other action sport courses we’ve seen at the Winter Olympics and I don’t see them changing that for the summer.
The park courses are brilliant. They’re based around that early, transitional curved wall that were found in empty swimming pools in California in the early 70s during the drought, although that has evolved. The speed and power that the skaters can create in these bowls is phenomenal.
You’ll see people boosting anywhere up to 10 feet out of the top of these. The margin for error, if you get it wrong, you’ve got about 15-20 centimetres to play with. It’s a bit like driving a car really fast down a narrow road, the faster you go, the narrower the road seems to get.
EL: The street course emulates what you’d find in any city centre. You have anywhere between 10 and 12 sets of stairs with handrails down them – those are primarily where the big points will be scored. It’ll be probably a drop of around 10 feet down there and that’s one of the big showcases, but then you’ll have more gentle banks, ledges, rails, gaps that the skaters can use.
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All skateboarding has a very strong core of creativity to it. The way the riders use the those parts is part of the scoring in themselves; technology has actually fed into reality.
Computer games have actually fed into what kids think is possible and over the last 10 years we’ve seen tricks that look exactly like they’ve come off Tony Hawk Pro Skater.
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