It's official! The Empire Open is part of the events that will count in the race for Olympic ranking! Officially sanctioned by Canada Skateboard as our country's National street skateboarding Championship, it represents a real opportunity for Canadian skateboarders who dream of competing against the best athletes in the world at the Tokyo 2020 Games!
If we had been told about this twenty years ago, we would've never believed it!
It is with great excitement that Canada Skateboard (the official federation for Canadian Skateboarding) sanctioned the Empire Open as the first street Pro/Am Canadian event that will count in the National ranking system and will ultimately influence the athlete selection process for the 2020 Olympic Games. As incredible as it may seem, this year's top Canadians will officially become the new National Champions.
A big step for the skate industry, a massive step for the Canadian skateboarding scene!
This year's Empire Open is definitely the most important contest Montreal has ever seen. In addition to offering a $ 20,000 cash purse for men AND an equal cash purse for women, Canada's biggest contest has now become an official step in the ranking process for the actual Olympic Games. IT'S HUGE !!! If you think you have what it takes to perform at Empire Open, it could mean you also have what it takes to perform at next year's Olympics Games in Tokyo!
We spoke to Benny Stoddard, President of the Canada Skateboard Federation to understand what it's all about and for more details about the National Street Skateboarding Championship and the Canadian skateboarding team at the 2020 Olympic Games.
What do you have to do to unlock a spot on the Canadian Olympic skate team. How does the selection works?
Skaters qualify by skating in World Skate sanctioned events in the Olympic qualifying period between January 1st, 2019 and June 30th, 2020. Their top 2 results from “Season 1” May 2019 - October 2019, will be added to their top 5 results from “Season 2" October 2019 - November 2020. The top 20 skaters with a maximum of 3 per country will qualify. Any Canadians ranked in the top 20 in the two disciplines (Park and Street) will have the opportunity to represent Canada at the games.
How does the Empire Open play into Olympic ranking? How many “points” do you get if you win? How about 3rd and 2nd?
The Empire Open will be the highest ranking domestic event on the Canadian Ranking list for 2019 with a baseline ranking of 700 out of a possible 1000. Since this event is open to all Canadian skaters, the anticipated field will be the strongest of any Canadian event. This will be the highlight event of the summer with skaters battling each other for not only the $20,000 purse, and the chance to become the 2019 National Champion, but the opportunity to represent Canada at other Olympic Qualifying Events.
Is it the same for the women's category?
Yes, it's the same for the women's side of things. We're very stoked that Empire Open and their sponsors stepped up to continue to include Women's Street. They even matched the prize money.
Do you think amateurs and pros will be competing together the Olympics.
Yes, amateurs and pros will be competing together in 2020. There will be fair pathways for both pros and ams to earn their spots on the National team.
Do you have any expectations regarding the Canadian skate team competing at the 2020 Olympics?
There will be an estimated 5 billion screens playing skateboarding live for the first time ever at Tokyo 2020. We'd like to see Canada represented to the fullest there. We have such an amazing community of skaters across the country that creates what Canadian skateboarding is; We want to share that on the global stage.
Skateboarding in the Olympics
Skateboarders around the world have always been proud to practice a unique sport that basically has no rules to it. Reason why it feels precious to skaters, making them very protective of the beautiful nature of their art. Many even wondered if skateboarding really had a place in the Olympics, if it was possible bring it to the Games without misrepresenting the culture... Most importantly, people were wondering if the best skaters in the world would actually have an interest in taking part in this kind of event. After years of discussion and preparation from the various world associations involved like Canada Skateboard, the answer to this is YES!
Thanks to the associations like Canada Skateboard for keeping it real. From the official outfits to regulations and general vibe of the contest, everything has been put in place for skateboarding to be respected and presented in its true nature at the 2020 Olympic Games.
You think you have what it takes to compete against the best skateboarders in the world? Well, we strongly encourage you to try your luck and register to Empire Open 2019! You could leave with a piece of our $ 40,000 cash purse, sure, but most importantly, you could come home with the title of Street Skateboarding Canadian Champion.
Come check the action at the Le Taz Skatepark on August to 29th to 31st for the first edition of the Empire Open.