OMG WTF IOC?
Skateboarders are freaking the fuck out over the inclusion of skateboarding in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics after yesterdays IOC vote. Officially, Skateboarding is now one of five sports added to the Olympic program, alongside sport climbing, karate, baseball/softball, and surfing.
This is misguided, but understandable. Skateboarding has long resisted labeling itself as a sport, preferring to think of itself as a recreational activity for outcast weirdos who tend to get beat up by jocks, not embraced by them. Its inclusion in the most visible and prestigious international sports competition in the world is a potent symbol of mainstream acceptance and jockification.
I fully understand and empathize with this view. As a kid who never liked little league, I was initially attracted to the solitary, creative, noncompetitive nature of skateboarding. There were no rules, no uniforms, and best of all no coaches yelling at me to pop my ollies higher or whatever. As I’ve gotten older, I appreciate skateboarding for the places it has taken me, the people it’s introduced me to, and the unique worldview it has given me. I still don’t like competing and get angry at the sight of douchebag little-league dads “coaching” their young children at the skatepark.
I still don’t like competing and get angry at the sight of douchebag little-league dads “coaching” their young children at the skatepark.
But skateboarding is not just one thing and even in the current “core” scene, there is a ton of diversity, and kookery. It’s everything from Rodney Mullen‘s mind bending tricks [FYI not everyone was a fan of the latest Vogue video collaboration] to Bob Burnquist sending it on mega ramp and even includes downhill racing and long distance pushing. Personally, I’ve never been an adrenaline junkie, but I’m not gonna tell Jaws to stop jumping off buildings or Zak Maytum to stop going as fast as possible down mountain passes with cliffs and traffic. I’m even glad there are street plaza skateparks popping up all over, but I don’t have the patience for technical street skating. This is more about perspective than anything and personally I’m happy to see immensely talented contest skaters like Nyjah Huston and Chris Cole have the opportunity to represent their countries on the world stage and earn Olympic medals if they want to.
Big time “sport” skating is going to be hit and miss. Like Street League, the Maloof Money Cup, and the X Games, the Olympics is just another televised contest that a large percentage of skaters and skateboarding will ignore.
Skateboarding is not just one thing and everyone likes it for different reasons.
“But the Olympics goes against everything skateboarding is about!” Everyone likes skateboarding for different reasons. The IOC is not going to shut down Thrasher or Skate[Slate]. Pro skaters are not going to stop putting out video parts so they can train for the Olympics. At worst, it’ll make it easier to convince your town to build a skatepark. You can still do hoodrat shit with your friends to keep it illegal if you insist.
“It’s going to Ruin Skateboarding Forever.” No, it isn’t. People fret about the perils of mainstream acceptance, talking about how we’re going to lose the soul of skateboarding. I’ve been skateboarding for long enough to know that this concern is overblown. The skateboarding that I have cherished for […] decades is not some precious, fragile little flower, it’s a fucking weed that won’t die no matter how hard it gets pulled, stepped on, or doused with poison. It’s a weed that can’t be killed because its roots are too strong.
Some dudes really enjoy being super good and winning contests. Who are you to say that these dudes love skateboarding for the wrong reasons?
“But skateboarding is not a sport.” I’ll repeat: Skateboarding is many different things to many different people. At its best, skateboarding is closer to dance than gymnastics. That said, sometimes skateboarding is a sport: Street League looks a lot more like Olympic gymnastics than Video Days. It’s just a fucking contest. Some dudes really enjoy being super good and winning contests. Who are you to say that these dudes love skateboarding for the wrong reasons?
Unless you’re one of the eighty people who expect to compete in 2020 and you really love weed and steroids, skateboarding in the Olympics won’t affect you at all. Let’s focus on what’s important: getting the 2024 summer games in LA and convincing the IOC to let us have the sickest downhill race ever. Because downhill is already a contest and we all know the Olympics are going to be the same hury up and wait as the current downhill race scene is now. With our luck someone will host an outlaw 20mins from the venue and get us all thrown out anyways.
Calm the fuck down.