Should Skateboarding Be In The Olympics?
What would it mean for skateboarding?
Could skateboarding become an Olympic sport? Following the success of snowboarding and freestyle skiing at the Sochi Winter Olympics in January, the organisers are apparently considering it seriously.
Tony Hawk has been invited to several meetings about it and recently told Larry King he believes it will be part of the Games by 2020.
But what would that mean for the sport we know and love? Sponsored skater Vaughan Jones, who’s been skating for more than half his life, takes a look…
Skateboarding is a sport like no other. But with BMX being included in the Olympics people have assumed skateboarding - being another so-called “extreme" sport - could work in the Olympics too.
Of course Olympic BMXing is racing and not a trick contest. Can you imagine a load of guys padded to the nines bombing round a mega ramp race circuit, absolutely annihilating themselves for the gold?
Somehow I doubt that would work - though it would be fucking entertaining to watch!
But let’s leave that aside and assume that some kind of trick contest makes it into the Olympics (probably vert, but it could be some kind of Street League format) what would the effects be?
1) It Would Change People’s Attitudes For the Better
We've all had abuse off a complete stranger with a warped opinion on skateboarding. The amount of times I've had random obscure insults shouted at me is unreal.
A lot of people can't resist trying to put you off it also, telling you to get a life or that you'll break your neck or snap your ankle.
And don't get me started on the general ignorance of people on the street thinking you're worse than Hitler for just riding down the street and jumping on some obstacles, that shit is the worst.
"It could help with everyday ordeals we come across, like dealing with security."
Having skateboarding in the Olympics could change the ignorant, negative opinions that a majority of the general public seem to have about skateboarding. With Olympic exposure people would see it as more of a “proper" sport.
If you look at the way snowboarding (which has been an Olympic sport since 1998) is appreciated and understood by the general public, that could point the way for how people think about skateboarding and skaters.
Even if you’re not into the competition side of skateboarding, and you hate X Games and Street League, more general acceptance could be a good thing. It could help with everyday ordeals we come across, like dealing with security.
Parents whose son or daughter wants to start skating might also encourage them instead of just assuming that will injure themselves instantly.
The Olympics would probably also create a new wave of non-skaters with skateboards – hipsters with all the gear and no idea – but an increase in skater numbers overall would surely be good for skaters?
2) It Would Mean More (And Better) Skateparks
Skateboarding being in the Olympics (and the increase in skater numbers that would come with it) would definitely create more revenue for skateparks to be built all over the country.
You’d see councils agreeing for skateparks to be built in areas which would never get a skatepark at the moment, no matter how hard the locals petitioned or raised money.
This could transform the lives of kids growing up in dodgy areas where the best spot they have to skate is a tyre attached to a cow or some shit.
It would also encourage more people to start skating which again would increase the popularity of skating. Which would mean…
[part title="All About The Money?"]
3) It Would Mean Mo’ Money for Skaters and Skateboarding
This is a hard one as there are pros and cons here. But think about it this way: Money is imperative for any brand or business to stay alive. The recent demise of Alien Workshop made this only too apparent.
Skateboarding in the Olympics could create a positive influx of dollar billz which could keep your favourite independent brands in business.
If more kids started skating due to the Olympics they could find themselves in the local skateshop trying out the independent brands and buying skateboards instead of scooters.
Also, brands having more money would mean there would be more cash to support talented kids turning pro and managing to make a living out of what they love. But…
4) But Mo’ Money Could Be a Bad Thing. A Very Bad Thing.
Can you imagine an Anti-Hero advertisement during the Olympics? I don't think so buddy. Independent brands wouldn’t be able to afford to sponsor the Games and they wouldn’t want to anyway.
They might benefit from the trickle down effect of extra interest in skating, but what you’d probably see is loads of other brands jumping in, selling skate kit and reaping most of the benefit. Once money comes into the equation corporate fat cats will want a slice of the pie.
Red Bull, Nike, Adidas and other big brands are already involved in the skateboard world - imagine the amount of other companies who’d be biting into the skateboard pie.
"There would be more cash to support talented kids turning pro making a living out of what they love. But…"
Gucci boards? Armani wheels? Versace bearings? All sold at ridiculous prices? Would that be trill?
And don't get me started on the ego which would inevitably accompany any pros making serious peezies. One Rob Dyrdek, with his MTV show and ridiculous fleet of cars, is more than enough. We don't need the skateboard community plagued with more people thinking they're bigger than Jesus.
Maybe Biggie put it best when he said “Mo' money mo' problems".
[part title="The Death of 'Real' Skateboarding? "]
5) It Would Mean Competitive Skateboarding Nause Overshadowing Everything
Skateboarding for most people is just about going out, trying stuff and having fun.
The X Games and Street League are undeniably interesting and somewhat entertaining to watch, but they’re far removed from most skaters' reality.
The Olympics would be like this and then some and there’s the danger that they would overshadow everything else.
Competitive skaters who win gold medals would get the most recognition and the most attention.
Skaters making videos or doing creative new tricks on new spots would struggle to get sponsorship.
6) It Would Mean Skating Becoming Too Serious
To most skaters, skateboarding is more of a hobby or a lifestyle than a sport. It's not like skaters go out for a shralp and class it as 'training' for the big comp or so that trick they want to film is perfectly bolts. They go out and shralp for the sheer love of it.
The inclusion of skateboarding in the Olympics could create a sporting outlook on skateboarding which would become the norm to most households.
"The next generation of new skateboard youth would most likely end up fully padded, down the local skatepark everyday 'training'"
The next generation of new skateboard youth would most likely end up fully padded, down the local skatepark everyday 'training' with their dad coach measuring how far they cleared the driveway and analysing every trick they landed to see how to improve it.
Arguably the X Games and Street League are bringing this kind of seriousness in already, but the Olympics would make it more prominent.
If it gets to the point where that’s all the kids who start skating are into – instead of pushing creativity, stylish skating and doing it for fun – skating could turn into just another sport. Bland as fuck.
7) It Would Mean Drugs Testing… With Hilarious Consequences.
So lets picture that skateboarding is in the Olympics, all the top pros and ams have qualified to compete and they’re asked to take a drugs test. How many would actually pass it?
It would be hilarious to see skaters going cold turkey to compete, turning up on the pale as fuck having withdrawal symptoms.
Obviously there would be straight edge skaters who could represent their country in the Olympics but those guys are boring right?
What do you think? Would skateboarding becoming an Olympic sport be good or bad, and how would it change the sport? Let us know in the comments section below