The first-ever Olympic skateboarding street and park courses

April 2, 2021 | Skateboarding
Ben Hatchell: one of skateboarding's biggest ambassadors | Photo: Red Bull

The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee unveiled the official design for the park and street skateboarding courses that will be featured in the Olympic Games.

Tokyo 2021 will mark the first-ever appearance of skateboarding at the Olympic Games, a long-awaited debut in the history of the sport.

The Olympic skatepark will be located in Ariake Urban Sports Park, in the waterfront area near the Olympic Village.

The concrete structure is almost twice the size of a standard competition skatepark and will provide smooth riding conditions for competitors of any stance - regular or goofy - and any gender.

Skateboarding, skatepark design, and what actually defines a good skatepark were brand new notions to the Olympic environment and community as a whole.

There has never been a field of play quite like this.

Tokyo 2020: the official Olympic skateboarding street and park courses | Illustration: California Skateparks

A Unique Design

The layout of the street and park features is driven by the Olympic competition format.

The organizers aimed to provide skateboarders from all over the world the area necessary for them to perform at the highest level and help advance skateboarding into the future.

As mentioned, skatepark design and the physical act of building a competition-fueled street and park course were both new concepts to the Olympic Games and took a collaborative effort to produce.

With the right people in place, the plans proceeded, and history will soon be made on both the park and street courses in Tokyo this summer.

"The design for the Skateboarding Street and Park Courses is intended to far exceed anything that has ever been built for professional skateboarding competition," explains Joe Ciaglia, CEO of California Skateparks.

"Each of the custom concrete courses was meticulously designed to give skateboard athletes the ability to maximize their own creativity, flow, speed, amplitude, technicality, and variety."

World Skate, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognized governing body for the sport of skateboarding, worked with Tokyo 2020 to deliver the best possible skatepark.

"We are happy to announce that both the Park and Street courses are under consideration to be left open to the public after the Games close," World Skate notes.

"We have a collective mission for the first Olympics games of skateboarding to leave something behind."

The Park Course

Tokyo 2020: the official park skateboarding course | Illustration: California Skateparks

The park course is larger and more complex than the existing competition structures.

Skaters will be able to get to the air at 2.95 meters (9.6 feet) - the deepest zone - and the sections built in the course's center will add difficulty to the overall performance.

Athletes will find round and flat rails, banks, and hip sections that will increase high-scoring opportunities.

The Street Course

Tokyo 2020: the official street skateboarding course | Illustration: California Skateparks

For the street course, skatepark designers worked to leverage the sections arranged symmetrically on the left and right, with tall rails, long rails, and ledges with different lengths and heights.

With an intuitive design, the skater will be able to gain speed in the first half of the run and land many tricks.

In the center, there are tall square rails, round rails, and rails from the pop-out bank.

In the second half of the run, the athlete will be invited to perform the hardest tricks and get an extra score.

A Long-Lasting Legacy

With the intention of bringing more international events to Tokyo, this will solidify a future in skateboarding events, overall participation, and progression in the surrounding areas for years to come.

"We are so excited for the Tokyo skateparks," says Sabatino Aracu, World Skate President.

"We wanted the athletes to have perfect and unprecedented competition courses for their Olympic debut, and I believe we hit the target thanks to the fruitful cooperation between all parties involved."

"As icing on the cake, if these two incredible skateparks become permanent, we also achieved another key target for Olympic Skateboarding - a valuable legacy left behind for the city of Tokyo as well as for the Japanese skateboarding community."

World Skate worked together with the IOC, the Tokyo2020 Organizing Committee, and the park designers and builders by bringing this idea to reality while catering to the athletes' needs and desires.

"Everyone involved has been great in understanding and supporting the process, and we are excited to leave behind a legacy as well as a one-of-a-kind skateboarding outlet for the locals to enjoy thereafter," adds Aracu.

"From the Japanese side, we've been working hand in hand with the Tokyo2020 Sports department that has shared the same goals and skateboarding vision as us."

"They have been understanding and helpful throughout the entire process."

"Because of this, we're not only leaving behind two great skateparks but also the experience and knowledge to build more skateparks for local skaters and international guests alike.

Skateboarding is closer to the Tokyo 2021 Summer Olympic Games.

History is in the making, but the ultimate mission is to leave behind a lasting skateboarding legacy in Tokyo.