Skaters react to Olympic skateboarding
For most, skateboarding is about the individual. It allows the skater to express themselves and showcase their talents without the pressure of competition and judgment. It’s an escape from reality and a vessel of creative expression. In some ways it’s more of an art than a sport.
That’s why so many skaters were left with mixed emotions when it was announced that skateboarding will be an official Olympic sport starting in the 2020 summer games in Tokyo.
Skateboard street and park events will be added alongside four other new sports as Tokyo aims for a youth-focused and inspiring Olympic games.
Gary Ream, Tokyo 2020 Skateboarding Commission Chairman and International Skateboarding Federation President is optimistic about skateboarding’s Olympic future.
“I’ve always believed that if skateboarding was properly protected and supported, its appearance on the Olympic stage could change the world,” said Ream. “We’re excited to have that opportunity in Tokyo.”
Thrasher Magazine talked to pro skaters to see what they think about skateboarding in the Olympics. Miles Silvas thinks the Olympics is part of skating’s natural evolution and is all for it.
“Skateboarding being in the Olympics was bound to happen. More and more people are starting to skate and it’s non-stop growing as a sport. Street League is damn near the Olympics of competitive skateboarding right now, so it’s not too big of a leap from where we’re already at. If the Olympics is in your lane I think it’s tight. I wouldn’t turn that shit down if I was asked to be a part of it. I think too much negative energy is being put on it, but it’s not going to affect skaters from doing what we’re already doing. Stay in your lane and let skateboarding grow. I’m with it.”
Jaws also likes the idea, especially for the kids coming into their own.
“I’m down with it. I think that it’s gonna be good for skateboarding in general. The
uniforms for sure are gonna be suspect and I don’t know who’s gonna pass the drug test. Maybe if I start doing good in some contests I can go. I’ll be 30 by then and I don’t know if I can keep up with the young kids. What’s that kid who’s dad owns the KTR park? Jagger. Yeah, that kid’s gonna be set up perfect for the Olympics.”
Many skaters though didn’t share Ream and Silvas’ optimism and were concerned the Olympics would change skating into a mainstream spectacle rather than the underground community it currently is.
Real skateboard’s Peter Ramondetta was particularly outspoken about his destain for the idea telling Thrasher “Skateboarding should never be part of the Olympics. Fuck the Olympics.”
John Cardiel put it a little more elegantly.