Skateboarding in the Olympics: A Call for Indifference

The many media outlets have been saying a lot about our little thing getting mixed up in the Olympics sometime soon. You see it on almost every major website, magazines usually run an op-ed article or two about it, big name professionals weigh in on it, both for and against, etc. I’ve noticed, particularly in the blogosphere, that any article written about this sensitive subject seems to cause quite a stir. There are some who fully support skateboarding’s inclusion in the World Games - it is, after all, a global activity and there are many who would love to see their native countries represented for not only their talents in track and field, but skateboarding as well. It’s also worth noting that the wealth of unrecognized talent outside of the United States is staggering; Canada and Brazil alone could sweep that shit in multiple categories (Pedros Barros for transition gold, easy). *

I think I’m already getting ahead of myself here. You, dear reader, are probably snickering at your computer screen right now. You’ve probably already stopped reading this and have begun commenting mean things about how core you are and how the Olympics can fuck off, etc. If you know me personally, you’ve probably started a text with a ton of angry emojis. Please, if you can, please hold out a little bit longer. We’re only just starting here.

Now I can understand some of the backlash that comes with a topic like this, major change in skateboarding is not without some harsh criticism, especially when it comes to categorizing skateboarding as a “sport”. But I ask, how long did it take before no one cared about Nike coming back? Despite all of Consolidated’s best efforts, the Swoosh prevailed, and that didn’t really seem to bother anyone. It’s like the human race’s relationship with Drake: we used to hate him, we used to cringe at every punch line he’d croon and yet, somewhere, sometime, we just decided that it was actually ok to like the dude. We certainly haven’t forgotten that we hated him, but accepting him hasn’t destroyed our street credibility (we had none to begin with, but we didn’t lose any). My point is that once something is normalized in skateboarding, anyone against it will either just accept it or reach a point of indifference. Regardless of where you stand, the vocalized hatred of that thing will cease. If we get to the Olympics, it will only be a matter of time before Thrasher has live streaming coverage of it, because despite all that Thrasher stands for, they gotta sell magazines, and sooner or later people are going to want them to weigh in. Sad, but true.

Personally, I don’t support skateboarding in the Olympics at all. But this little rant isn’t about whether we are for or against it. It’s about indifference. Instead of trying to stand on a soap box of right or wrong on this topic, I’m offering a shrug (¯_(ツ)_/¯, if you will.)

Here’s how I feel: what could the Olympics do to skateboarding, and subsequently, do to ruin skateboarding, that hasn’t already been done? I don’t see how the inclusion of skateboarding in the Olympics means anything to the state of “real” skateboarding. To me it seems like it’d just be another contest that would come up every four years...barely noticeable in comparison to how many times Street League blows up my fucking explore page on Instagram every few months or so. And honestly, dudes that are committed to Street League have a way gnarlier schedule than a pro skater looking to compete in the Olympics. You could have a full video part under your belt in a real video (real videos average timeline 4-6 years) and go off and do the Olympics worry free. I have no idea what the payout on winning a gold medal in the Olympics would be compared to SL, but I can imagine that endorsements from Subway post gold medal win would allow you to live quite comfortably.

To me, the “Skateboarding in Olympics” convo/blog articles could do without the doomsday sentiments, the idea that our thing being officially classified as sport would cause some type of core implosion. The people this actually affects are a tiny percentage of skateboarders across the globe, i.e. the ones that would be willing to participate in it. It is highly unlikely that skateboarding’s core values, if they still exist, would be jeopardized at all. Would Brad Cromer disappear off the face of the earth? Would Skate Jawn stop printing issues? Would Ishod stop putting out 15 parts a year? Probably not. I mean honestly, what’s the difference between the mega ramp and a huge ski jump? Yes, materials/danger/Danny Way, but other than that they’re pretty much on the same pedestal entertainment-wise. It’d just be another contest, with another batch of energy drink logos being worn all over so-and-so’s body, another slew of redundant and not funny contest commentary, topped with arbitrary scoring that I will never fully understand. Sounds like something that already exists, huh?

So the next time you see an opportunity to jump in the fray of ignorant comments about skateboarding belonging/not belonging in the Olympics, just remember that it probably is going to happen whether you like it or not, but how it could ever make itself unique to skateboarding’s current contest circus is unclear. You don’t want to see skateboarding in the Olympics? Shut the t.v. off and go skate outside. Problem solved.

*Images taken from Google and stuff :)