ILLUSTRATION KRIS HARO
The International Olympic Committee just voted unanimously to include skateboarding in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. WOW! It is important to note though that there is one more IOC session in August down in Brazil that will ultimately determine the deal for certain. That being said, most believe it has already been decided.
If you did not already know, the International Skateboard Federation has an Olympic Executive Committee in place with the likes of Tony Hawk and other top dogs of the skate industry leading the charge. From what we’re seeing, most on the industry side of things are fully backing and diligently working towards this new inclusion of skateboarding. If you are to glean the industry’s position on skateboarding in the Olympics via this below quote from the Birdman himself from an interview last year, you’d be safe to assume that powerful forces in skateboarding have been positioning for this deal for a long time:
This is not only a great opportunity for our sport and the skaters, but also for the Games,” he said. “It is now more important than ever to preserve the unique culture of skateboarding which makes our sport so appealing and relevant. – Tony Hawk
Other skaters out there however believe that “skateboarding is not a sport and should not be used as a Marketing tool for the Olympics.” In fact, here’s one of the petitions against skateboarding in the Olympics with over 7,000 petitioners signed up: “No Skateboarding in the Olympics”.
Regardless of where you stand on the subject it’s a a big freakin’ deal and will most definitely bring skateboarding to an even larger audience and via a frame of traditional sports. What we are most curious about upon hearing this news is: what kinds of skateboarding will be included exactly? We’re pretty sure it will be Vert & Street/Skatepark competitions. But, we love Downhill Skateboarding too and think it would also be a great idea to consider including it in the Olympics too. And what about Slalom, and boardercross, and distance, and freestyle? But, there’s not even one single downhiller, or the like, on the International Skateboarding Federation’s Olympic Executive Committee, so. . . we’ll see. Oh, almost forgot: Drug testing!?! Hmmm. . .
Ultimately though, who knows what skateboarding being included as an Olympic sport will do for the Olympics itself and for our skateboarding culture? We’re guessing skateboarding will continue to change and morph and expand into new segments as corporations like Nike and Adidas and Gatorade and Mountain Dew and Levis and other huge global conglomerates continue investing and further expanding their influence in skateboarding. Not judging at all, but WOW, wow, wow!