Five reasons to get behind skateboarding at the Olympics
While we watch to find out who will make it, here are some reasons to get behind skateboarding’s inclusion to the Olympic Games.
Podcast: Why Olympic skateboarding at Tokyo 2020 will be great
Podcast: Why Olympic skateboarding at Tokyo 2020 will be greatWomen’s skateboarding, the ultra-competitive USA team, and core skating. There’s a lot to talk about as the countdown to the Olympics is officially on for skateboarding with qualification already underway. We caught up with Dashawn Jordan and Jenn Soto to talk gender equality and equal pay in skating. Plus, will we ever see skateboarding at the Paralympics? Oscar Loreto Jr and Aaron Wheelz Fotheringham are hoping to make that dream a reality.
“(The Olympics is) a big opportunity for skateboarding to grow,” US skater Dashawn Jordan said to the Olympic Channel Podcast.
It has meant contests are now running men’s and women’s competitions at the same time rather than separately.
“Whether it's for men or women, we're all one at the end of the day,” Jordan added.
Although, US skater Jenn Sotto believes that there’s still a pay gap.
“It’s definitely nowhere near (equal pay).”
“I feel like everywhere in the world beyond skateboarding – we still have got a lot of work to do.”
Exploring new places is one of the joys of skateboarding.
Opportunities are now being created for some skaters to travel to contests and see parts of the world they have never visited.
Kendra Long is 13 and is already competing at a top international level.
She had never been to Europe before but then USA Skateboarding sent her an email inviting her to take part in the World Skate / SLS event in the UK.
“I was just in school. During eighth period, I was showing off going like, ‘I am going to London!’”
“It was awesome.”
As the calendar for Olympic qualification is built out, there could be more chances for people to travel the world to represent their nations and skate places they’ve never visited.
Skate parks are being built
The Ariake Urban Sports Park in Tokyo will have two courses for both skateboarding disciplines: street and park.
The plan is for these to be permanent and available for skateboarders long after the Olympics finish.
“The guidance has been that the parks will look and feel like top international-level street and park courses that the skaters are used to,” Josh Friedberg, CEO of USA Skateboarding, said.
“But I’m sure they’ll be something special for the Olympics.”
In London, there are plans for a new park to be built for the public.
Stuart Maclure helped save the legendary South Bank skate spot in central London.
Now, he's involved in plans to build a new spot in the London 2012 Olympic Park.
“(It’s) one great positive about skating at the Olympics,” Maclure said to the Olympic Channel Podcast.
“(The plan is to) use items that have been thrown away. We can re-purpose them and then use them to have skate schools and just be open to the public.”
Opportunities for African skaters
The way qualification works for the Olympics means that each continent should be represented.
There will be at least one participant from Africa in each of the four skateboarding events at Tokyo 2020.
Skateboarding has huge potential for growth in the continent.
South Africa’s Jean-marc Johannes has made it clear that he would like to represent his country at the Olympic Games.
"(It) would be more than a dream come true for me," Johannes said.
"It will also be a great motivation to aspiring athletes in the Cape Flats area... to chase their dreams."
It could also be the start of more African skaters finding their way into the Olympics.
Paving a potential Paralympic pathway
Skateboarding won't be at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
But that isn’t stopping skaters from trying to make it happen in the future.
“I will not rest until I see adaptive skaters at the Paralympic Games,” Oscar Loreto Jr said to the Olympic Channel Podcast.
“I will die happy. I have done my job.”
Loreto Jr hopes that adaptive skaters will be invited to do a demo at more contests.
“Inclusion, opportunities, and exposure are the biggest needs right now (for adaptive skateboarding),” said Josh Friedberg from USA Skateboarding.
The Olympic Channel Podcast showcases the most inspirational and motivational stories around the Games every Wednesday.