As many of you know, The Olympic Games – the ones that began their *modern* tradition 125 years ago – have brought Skateboarding into the fold as an official sport. The original *pre-modern* Olympic Games were held in Olympia, Greece. And citizens of the world have mixed feelings about Tokyo as the symbolic Olympia of today. Aside from perspectives on the COVID-19 pandemic, there may be a corollary between them and the many skateboarders who feel hesitant about Skateboarding being hosted in The Olympics. But surely we can agree that there are positive effects from this recent inclusion.
Half of these Skateboarding Olympics are now over. Men’s and Women’s Street divisions have concluded, leaving Japan with three medals, Brazil with two, and USA with one. The Men’s and Women’s Park divisions are coming up quickly, and it will be fun to watch – that is the one thing we know for sure. It has already been a treat to watch Yuto Horigome spin his way onto the big rails, Alexis Sablone flip onto them, and little Rayssa carry the confidence of someone twice her age! Many of the competitors might have been off skateboarders’ radars, so to speak. But they all showed up and did their best, staying true to themselves, their own styles and strengths.
Without a doubt skateboarding’s assignment to the Olympic games is a net positive for skateboarding insofar that it will bring more resources to people around the globe who seek to know skateboarding for themselves. Skateparks, brands and distribution for more people to enjoy the pastime will sure expand. For many that are new to skateboarding, they are witnessing how international skateboarding’s presence is, for the first time. Although that is such a special thing about skateboarding, long-time skaters already know this well. We may be more impressed by how other countries are outperforming the United States in the “sport” that was originated on its land. Some prominent talents, such as Nyjah Huston and Leticia Bufoni, failed to qualify for the Finals, leaving room for younger & tenacious competitors who placed highly in the final results!
We are now on the eve of the latter divisions of Olympic Skateboarding in Tokyo – Men’s and Women’s Park competition. Watching Park skating (vs. Street skating) may be more enjoyable for the laymen (or the expert) to watch, purely based on the cadence of the action. The longer flowing runs of “Park” skaters may appear to be more like a floor routine or a performance on a skateboard.
But regardless of its interpretation, we look forward to seeing how the games play out for Skateboarding; for the skateboarders participating but also for the fans and non-skateboarding spectators. Will Japan continue on their medal count lead, or will Brazilians, Americans or others level the playing field? I guess you’ll just have to tune in and see…