Skateboarding (in some form) is shortlisted to become a part of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Already, internet commenters are shrieking about how it’s an “art form” and shouldn’t be called a sport… Whatever.
In the end, this is going to happen. Snowboarding is a ratings juggernaut for the Winter Games – it’s entertaining, it has great personalities and it’s mind-blowingly impressive on TV. All the things that skateboarding will be for the Summer Games. With that in mind, skateboarding needs to get it’s act together fast, and assume control and representation of the sport.
Currently, skateboarding is presented as part of ‘roller sports’ which includes a bunch of kooky pursuits like roller derby and downhill and is represented by the Fédération Internationale de Roller Sports (FIRS). That body will determine qualification schedules and comps, funding and other elements of Olympic skateboarding that will affect how the skate community sees it’s inclusion.
Rather than sitting back and bitching in five years time about how “they don’t get it”, the negotiations over control need to start now and ensure that what comes out in Japan, is something we can all enjoy watching. Here’s the tough part… For those negotiations to be effective, there needs to be an organised and united front – organised and united aren’t things skateboarding has traditionally done well. Over to you.