How Good Was That Skateboarder's Kickflip? You Be The Olympic Judge.

On the street course in Japan, Olympic skateboarders will skate two 45-second runs with five tricks. Think you can score that 360 flip or frontside board slide like a real Olympic judge?

7/22/2021 7:30:00 AM

You may have watched the X Games, and maybe you’ve even laid down a kickflip of your own—but do you know what judges will be looking for? FiveThirtyEight has your chance to test your Olympic eye.

On the street course in Japan, Olympic skateboarders will skate two 45-second runs with five tricks. Think you can score that 360 flip or frontside board slide like a real Olympic judge?

while surrounded by their American teammates. The Tokyo Olympics will bring both the joy and the feistiness of the sport to the masses starting this weekend.The Olympics aren’t putting skateboarding on the “legitimate sports” map — the X Games have existed since the mid-1990s, after all — but it might be the first time millions of people watch the sport. The skateboarding they’ll see will be a more refined, less risky version of the sport, and old-school skateboarders may see that as antithetical to the culture. But Rob Meronek isn’t worried. The co-founder of skateboarding events production company

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and seasoned competition organizer (and lifelong skateboarder) sees the mainstream exposure of the Olympics as the logical progression of the sport. “If you think skateboarding can be ruined by the Olympics,” he said, “you're thinking incorrectly about skateboarding.”

Think you could judge?You may have watched the X Games, and maybe you’ve even laid down a kickflip of your own. But do you know what judges will be looking for? Now’s your chance to test your Olympic eye.There are two disciplines in Olympic skateboarding: park and street. For park, think “Lords of Dogtown,” headtopics.com

, a little vert and some midair tricks. Street is a mix of “flat” tricks and obstacles like rails and stairs.1channeling street skating energy.On the Olympic street course, athletes will skate two 45-second runs with five tricks. Judges will score on a

0.0-10.0scale, based on speed, difficulty, originality, timing and execution.We’ll show you three individual street tricks with two professional skaters performing each trick in their own style (but not in competition with each other). To help you parse what to look for, we’ve asked Meronek to provide some pointers and review each trick. After you score both skaters, we’ll show you how your score compares to scores from Meronek and other FiveThirtyEight readers.

Let’s start with one of the easiest tricks you might see, the 50-50.In a 50-50, the skater grinds their board’s trucks — the metal pieces that connect the axles and wheels to the skateboard deck — on a ledge or a rail, frontside or backside depending on whether a skater's chest or back is parallel to the object. Meronek said the key to a well-executed 50-50 is having

both trucks square on the ledgeor rail and rolling away clean. Read more: ABC News »

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