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The GFORCE Guide to... Skateboarding

Added 07 Mar 2019 by GFORCE

It has graduated from the streets and parks all the way to becoming an event at the next Olympic Games, but what is skateboarding all about?

Starting in the 1940s and 50s on the West Coast of the USA, skateboarders literally attached a set of metal wheels to a plank of wood and started experimenting to see what they could do with it.

It gained popularity, especially amongst younger people, in the 80s and 90s as iconic games like Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series brought the sport to millions of households across the world.

While the popularity has grown, the technology has remained largely the same. Metal wheels were replaced with plastic ones but the wooden boards remain, even if they are a bit more refined these days.

At the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, gold medals will be up for grabs for two types of skateboarding - park and street.

The difference here lies in the type of course being tackled. In the park course riders will head into a sunken network of bowls that they can use the steep edges of to get time in the air to perform tricks. In the street style, obstacles will reflect a typical roadside scene, with benches, railings and staircases.

Whatever is placed in front of them, Olympic competitors will be aiming to impress a panel of judges by performing complicated, smooth and impressive tricks and skills during a 45 second run.

They get two attempts at these runs and need to perform five individual tricks in that time which are each scored separately.

Judges look at the difficulty, height, speed and originality of each trick, as well as the flow and composition of how they all go together during the run.

The Winter Olympics has long had style-judged events such as snowboarding in it and athletes have transferred between the two disciplines in the past. Could the inclusion of skateboarding in the Olympics see giants of the snow like Shaun White have a tilt at getting a gold medal in a different sport?

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