Skateboarding WILL be a part of the 2020 Olympics after the International Olympic Committee voted unanimously this evening for its inclusion, along with Softball, Baseball, Karate, Surfing and Sport Climbing.
Street and ‘Park Terrain’ are to be featured – there is currently no plan to include Downhill, Slalom etc disciplines, outside of the ‘core’ market Street and Vert events already included in more mainstream competition such as Street League, X-Games and the Vans tours.
The addition of new sports comes as a result of the IOC’s decision to get rid of the 28-sport limit in December 2014. The Summer Olympics will instead be capped at 10,500 athletes and 310 medals.
All five sports made a good enough case for international and local appeal for spectators and fans of the Olympics. The additions will also add at least 18 events and 474 athletes to the Summer Games.
At the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, skateboarding and climbing will be held in a temporary urban cluster by the waterfront area. Music and entertainment will be part of the presentation in those two sports.
So now we know for sure, how will the Olympics benefit Skateboarding? Or is it the Olympics that will benefit from us?
According to Iain Borden, Professor of Architecture and Urban Culture at University College London and also the author of the ‘Skateboarding, Space and the City’,
“There will be more people skating and buying product and reading websites and magazines, and their advertising will go up. There will be more money in marketing budgets to support art projects, to keep up the pressure on councils for parks and for schools to have skateboarding as part of the PE curriculum. The indirect benefits generally could be quite large.”
However, Borden worries that:
“The circuit of capital won’t be so evident. Where will the money from international TV rights go, will that flow back into skating? Skaters will need to be directly involved in the organisation of the event and not just leaving it to the rollerskate federation.”
What does the Olympics mean for the future of female skateboarding? Well, any new sport included into the Olympics must include both sexes (three male and three female from each country to be exact). There must also be a points system in place along with a series of contests that can later act as qualifiers for the Olympic berth. (Much in the way snowboarding did when it was included in the Olympics.)
In the past this wasn’t always the case, female ski jumpers had to fight the IOC to be included and were only added into the Olympics in 2014. Since ski jumping for men has been an Olympic sport for 90 years, the women’s division wasn’t a given and the girls in the sport fought long court battles to be included.
So, who competes for who?
Girls like Poppy Starr Olsen (Australia) and Leticia Bufoni (Brazil) would be competing for their home country. Some girls wth dual citizenship, like Amelia Brodka who was born in Poland, could choose which country they would like to qualify for, Poland or USA.
Just because we see most skate coverage coming from the USA doesn’t mean there aren’t other countries preparing their girls right now, with 4 years training under their belt, who knows who the 2020 female winner* will be!?
*We all know there aren’t really any winners or losers in skateboarding 😉