Skateboarding has been accepted by the IOC into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on the back of an application made by FIRS (Fédération Internationale Roller Sports, the world governing body for roller sports (well, speed, artistic and hockey skating, not street, park or downhill skateboarding)). This is a great opportunity for Skateboarding to progress as a sport but has also generated the predictable backlash of skaters saying that skateboarding should remain true to it’s counter-culture roots and not get involved in what they see as selling-out to the mainstream. This knee-jerk reaction shows how elitist and isolationist some skaters are about their sport, and how narrow-minded they are about what it could be. For them, skateboarding is how they do skateboarding. Their way is the right way, and although they might agree with grass roots initiatives to get more kids into skateboarding, they really don’t like the idea of big business (it really isn’t all that big) diluting the purity of their chosen activity. It’s an understandable position as the reason they are into skateboarding in the first place is because it isn’t mainstream and offeres them a small community to belong to, but what they don’t seem to want to admit is that a sport without money dies very quickly, and that a sport can exist on many levels without interfering with itself on any other levels. What skateboarding is to them doesn’t have to change just because some skaters are also doing it in the Olympics.
There is also a ‘discussion’ among skaters about which governing body should control and manage the implementation of skateboarding as an Olympic competition as the surrounding activities such as selecting the competitors, run drug-testing, etc. So, which organisation should be responsible for implementing skateboarding in the Olympics? Simple, the organisation that is most capable of making it a success.
Having cycling in the Olympics proved a huge boost for Road Cycling. Managed correctly the Olympics can do the same for Skateboarding.