It’s no longer JUST a hobby for “hooligans” or “punks” who enjoy grinding on public stair rails and dropping down an empty pool to catch some air – skateboarding (after years of being vilified) made its Olympic debut this year in Tokyo.
The cherished Southern California pastime that was often shooed with “no skating” signs in public spaces is now a respected sport. What was once seen as a way to cruise through pavement has turned into a worldwide phenomenon-turned-competition at one of the biggest global sporting events.
So, how exactly did skateboarding become an Olympic sport? Let’s take a look:
Skateboarding At the Olympics
In 2016, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved five sports for inclusion in the Tokyo Olympics – baseball and softball (which are counted together as one), surfing, karate, sport climbing and, of course, skateboarding.
IOC President Thomas Bach said the decision to include the new sports in the 2020 Summer Olympics was to interest younger athletes and audiences.
“Taken together, the five sports are an innovative combination of established and emerging, youth-focused events that are popular in Japan and will add to the legacy of the Tokyo Games,” Bach said in a statement.
The skateboarding competition will be split in two disciplines for the judges to watch: park and street, and each category will have a women’s event and a men’s event.
Park competition – will be held in a dome-shaped bowl with skaters judged on tricks made during their timed runs.
Street competition – will feature series of jumps, rails and other maneuvers athletes make during their timed runs.
Skaters will be given five seconds to start after the beginning signal and a horn will blow when their time expires. Tricks made during that time will be scored and the head judge will decide if a trick has been completed after the time was called.
A horn signal is triggered when the time expires. A trick will be considered during time and scored if it is in progress before the horn signal. The head judge will decide if a trick completed after time will be scored.
Bryce Wettstein will represent the U.S. in the Tokyo Olympics, reports NBC 7’s Lauren Coronado
How Judges Will Keep Score
Skaters will be judged on a 0-100 point scale and in each round, the Olympian’s best of three 45-second runs will count as their final scores.
“The highest and lowest scores for each run are dropped, and the remaining three scores are averaged to two decimal places resulting in the final run score,” the Olympics explained.
Which San Diegans Are Competing?
A U.S.-born sport means that Team USA’s skateboarding crew is massive, with a dozen athletes representing the country. Meet the members with San Diego County ties:
The International Olympic Committee’s medical chief said Thursday that the issue of transgender athletes’ participation in Olympic competition is complex and the IOC is still working on a framework for future eligibility.
Heimana Reynolds, 23, Carlsbad resident
Hailed from Hawaii, Reynolds now resides in North County and is a park-style skateboarder.
“I love skateboarding. Like, this is what I do,” Reynolds told NBC 7’s Steven Luke on the Olympic Dreams: San Diego to Tokyo podcast. “I chose this cause I love to do it and I’m lucky enough to make this my livelihood,” he said.
“Like a doctor, he has a 9 to 5 job right?” Reynolds said. “Skateboarding is mine. I go to the skatepark 9 to 5.”
Bryce Wettstein, 17, Encinitas resident
Encinitas-raised Wettstein has been skateboarding since she was 5 thanks to her mom and dad teaching her.
The fierce teenager loves to play volleyball, surf and use her ukelele when she’s not skating.
She said the sport “brings out the best parts of myself and has become a part of my soul.”
Jagger Eaton, 20, San Diego resident
This Arizona-born skater moved to America’s Finest City to pursue his passion for skateboarding and to be closer to the iconic Encinitas Skate Park.
He has already made history as the first American to earn an Olympic medal in the skateboarding competition — and he did it with a broken ankle, no less.
“There is no bigger honor in sport to compete for your country, and that’s something I really wanted to do,” Eaton told NBC 7. “I’m a very patriotic young man. When I got the opportunity to compete and actually put the uniform on the first time, it blew my mind.”
Brighton Zeuner, 17, Encinitas resident
A decorated skateboarding resident at just the age of 17, Zeuner learned how to use the board at the age of 4.
An Encinitas-raised teen, this skater loves going to the beach, playing the guitar and eating Japanese cuisine.
When she’s not skating, she enjoys scouring the thrift stores of North County to create her own clothes.
Cory Juneau, 22, San Diego resident
Straight out of America’s Finest City, Juneau has been skateboarding since he was a youngster and has competed in multiple countries since.
When he’s not kicking and pushing his board, he enjoys customizing motorcycles with his father and adding more gold chains to his collection.
Jordyn Barratt, 22, Carlsbad resident
This North County resident made history as the first female to qualify for the Dew Tour Park Am contest.
The Olympian, who was born in Texas then lived in Hawaii, moved to California as a teen and attended San Dieguito High School Academy
When she’s not skateboarding, Barratt enjoys surfing and spending time with her adorable dogs.
Tom Schaar, 21, Carlsbad resident
A graduate of San Dieguito High School Academy, this North County resident was the first skateboarder to land a 1080 on a vertical ramp.
He told NBC 7 last year that it was unfortunate the pandemic pushed back the Tokyo Olympics, but had an extra year to mentally prepare for the big event.
“I don’t want to get too worked up about it, get super stressed out and not be able to skate as well,” Schaar said at the time.
During his downtime, he enjoys pursuing his philanthropic efforts, drawing, surfing and playing video games.