It's official! Skateboarding is not only a sport--it's an Olympics-worthy one. To prepare for the 2020 Tokyo introduction of skateboarding as an official Olympic event, let's break down some of the biggest questions surrounding the decision so you, as a viewer, know what to expect.
There are plenty of opinions as to why this was the year that changed it all. International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach cited a desire for younger viewership as a reason, stating "
With the many options that young people have, we cannot expect any more that they will come automatically to us. We have to go to them.”
The Ride Channel notes that this inclusion is "more symbolic of the state of the big-industry side of things than the culture of skating itself," but still underlines that, regardless of how you feel about the Olympics as an institution, "the inclusion of a sport that was born in the United States is a big deal."
The International Skate Federation (ISF) also released a statement assuring viewers that "[t]he ISF and the skateboarding community are ready, equipped and well positioned to help make the first Olympic appearance of skateboarding an amazing one for skaters and fans alike."
What would the competition look like?
Right now, park terrain skateboarding is the only event in the official lineup, which means skatepark terrain; halfpipes, quarterpipes, and other street obstacles like rails and stairs. Some skaters have expressed hopes that vert events are also added.
Others are skeptical, asserting that skateboarding doesn't have the dramatic visual appeal of other winter sports, and that viewers may be disappointed by the gulf between their expectations and the reality of the competition. "Sadly, to the casual fan," says The Ride Channel, "organized skateboarding is more akin to curling."
Who would the top competitors be?
It's still a little early to know for sure, but if we take a look at recent winners of this year's X Games, here's a potential lineup:
Top 3 Skateboard Street Amateurs:
- Tyson Bowerbank
- Christian Dufrene
- Jagger Eaton
Top 3 Women's Skateboard Street Finals:
- Pamela Rosa
- Mariah Duran
- Lacey Baker
Top 3 Men's Skateboard Park:
- Pedro Barros
- Curren Caples
- Chris Russell
Top 3 Women's Skateboard Park:
- Kisa Nakamura
- Lizzie Armanto
- Jordyn Barratt
And, of course, other professional names come to the top; "Ryan Sheckler? Nyjah Huston? Louie Lopez?" The Inertia reminds us, "There are still four years to find out."
"I’ve always believed that if skateboarding was properly protected and supported, its appearance on the Olympic stage could change the world," says Gary Ream--who's not only chairman of the Tokyo 2020 Skateboarding Commission, but also president of the ISF. Will Olympic skateboarding change the world? We'll all have to stay tuned to find out.