words Al Woods
You may have heard that the International Olympics Committee announced that five new sports were going to be added to the 2020 games in Tokyo, one of which was skateboarding.
This has long been regarded as a counter-culture compared to the traditional Olympic sports, but its inclusion in the next games is certain to catapult it into the mainstream.
Here’s what we know so far about skateboarding: the new Olympic sport…
The Skateboarding Events
According to the official website, the 2020 summer games in Tokyo will include two disciplines within skateboarding: park and street events.
The park competition will be a combination of a dome-shaped bowl with a variety of complex curves. The street competition will be a course with stairs, curbs, slopes and rails for skaters to make use of.
They’ll take the form of a free performance competition where skaters will be scored on the composition of a routine (including the originality, style and consistency), as well as speed, height and the combination of tricks and moves used.
A total of 80 skaters, both men and women, will be representing their countries and competing for the coveted gold medal.
Adding five new sports to the Olympic games (the other four are baseball, karate, sports climbing and surfing) has arguably been one of the most progressive evolution of the games in modern history.
It’s a move that will bring a whole new audience to the Olympics, as youngsters who already skate can see their heroes on an international platform, representing their country, and it may even inspire kids to try out the hobby themselves. It’s accessible as you don’t need expensive equipment or a dedicated coach to start – you can easily buy a skateboard from Skate Hut and practice your tricks in the back garden!
The New Role Model
Importantly, skating become an Olympic sport means there’s new role models available for counter culture kids who perhaps didn’t feel like any of the mainstream sports was right for them.
Skaters will be recognised as athletes and it could open doors for the sport to receive more recognition and access to increased funding for facilities around the world. Plus, it gets rid of the assumptions about the fitness levels associated with the sport – some of the professionals claim to skate up to a staggering 50 hours a week and it’s an incredibly healthy and active pursuit to promote to kids.
Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until 24th of July 2020, the official start of the summer games, to find out how skateboarding will play out in the Tokyo Olympics! For now, learn a bit more about the skating culture and encourage your kids to pursue it if they show an interest – they could be next to represent their country a few years down the line.