illustration: giurato

illustration: giurato

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that skateboarding is officially going to be in the Olympics come 2020. Four short years from now, for better or for worse, you’ll be able to watch your favorite tight-trucked tinker-tot go for the gold with their best 9 Club™ run. Skate media, of course, is having a field day with the news. We’ve done our share of covering the long and complicated courtship between the Olympics and skaters, and, since the announcement, there’s been a slew of interviews and explanatory content that’s come out to try and explain the ins and outs of this new frontier of skate competition. But all of these interviews are with the insiders, the big honchos who had a hand in getting skateboarding into the Olympics and are most likely to profit off its inclusion. And they all say pretty much the same thing: This is great for the next generation of skateboarders.

But is it really? We’re sick of hearing canned answers from these corporate old farts, and since we’re a bit out of touch ourselves, we decided to go straight to the source – the supposed beneficiaries of this news – to find out what’s up. We hit some of New York’s local skateparks to learn what the kids think about skateboarding in the Olympics. Granted this survey may be a bit skewed because we only talked to kids close to us, but either way, their answers were as enlightening as they were surprising.

robert-ramirez

ROBERT RAMIREZ

Age: 15
Hometown: Bronx, New York, USA
What do you think of skateboarding being in the Olympics?
What? I didn’t even know it was going to be in the Olympics!

Who will have the best skate team?
I’m going to go with America.

What do you think this will do for skating?
I don’t think it’ll bring a divide, only maybe in the sense that it’ll start giving people different reasons to skate, like if you wanna be in the Olympics, skateboarding could be your way in.

max-curren

MAX CURREN

Age: 13
Hometown: Fairfield, Connecticut, USA
What do you think of skateboarding being in the Olympics?
I’m stoked, I wanna see USA win.

What events are you hoping to see?
Street and mega ramp, that’s all.

What skaters do you want to see compete?
Ishod. I think USA will be the best team. USA will definitely be the best, but Australia is good too.

ethan-isles

ETHAN ISLES

Age: 14
Hometown: Gold Coast, Australia
What do you think of skateboarding in the Olympics?
I don’t think skateboarding should be in the Olympics because with skateboarding, you can’t put points on a trick. In the streets you’ll get style points for the simplest tricks, but they wouldn’t look at that in the Olympics. Skating is an art, not a sport.

What do you think this will do to skateboarding?
I think skaters will look at skating differently, like they’re trying tricks for the Olympics, not for a video part or something. That will kill the whole vibe a bit. There will be a whole other group of skaters who just skate for the Olympics.

Who would you wanna see skate in the Olympics?
Someone who never skates contests and has fun with it and doesn’t skate it like it’s the Olympics. Someone who skates it like they’re at the park with their friends – could be anyone, Evan Smith, Chris Cole, could be any of them. But most likely they’ll just put whoever they think is “the best.”

chase-muller

CHASE MULLER

Age: 13
Hometown: Fairfield, Connecticut, USA
What do you think of skateboarding being in the Olympics?
It’s finally a sport, people now know it’s a sport. It will be more accepted.

What do you wanna see in the Olympics?
I wanna see new tricks and all the best skaters. I wanna see a bunch of skate companies go out there and really do some cool things. I want skating to get bigger and more people to accept it! It will be cool to see the boys and girls tournaments, but I think there would be a lot of people judging the girl skaters wrong.

What events do you wanna see?
I wanna see a pool event and a mega ramp event, that would be cool.

What skaters do you wanna see compete?
Ryan Sheckler, Nyjah Huston, and Manny Santiago.

justin-quebas

JUSTIN CUEVAS

Age: 16
Hometown: Jersey City, New Jersey, USA
What do you think of skateboarding being in the Olympics?
It’s exciting, I just wonder how well it will be put together.

What events do you wanna see?
I wanna see street, but I feel like it’s just going to be vert and that mega ramp stuff.

What team do you think will be the best?
Probably America because this is where skateboarding started. Brazil is good too. I saw a little Brazilian with a big fro who is flow for Primitive doing hardflip boardslides on handrails, he’s like 10.

What do you think this will do for skating?
It will bring more people, more money, more parks. It will help the skate community.

Who do you wanna see skate compete?
Shane O’Neil, Ishod, and Chris Joslin. Not Nyjah, it would probably be rigged for him, Street League is already rigged.

elijahpeppers

ELIJAH PEPPERS

Age: 17
Hometown: The Bronx, New York, USA
What do you think of skateboarding being in the Olympics?
I don’t feel like it’s a sport in the way the Olympics thinks it is. I don’t wanna say I don’t think it should be in the Olympics, but I don’t think it will work out.

What would you like to see for skateboarding in the Olympics?
I don’t know about what I’d like to see, but I do know what I wouldn’t like to see. I wouldn’t want it too commercialized, I don’t want skateboarding’s identity to be changed. I feel like the Olympics will turn it into something it’s not.

Who would you like to see in the Olympics?
Brandon Westgate, but I highly doubt he’ll be in there. I don’t think he’s popular enough to be in there, or he probably wouldn’t want to be there even if he could be.

christain-ibriham

CHRISTIAN IBRAHIM

Age: 14
Hometown: Bayonne, New Jersey, USA
What do you think of skateboarding being in the Olympics?
I’m actually excited to see it in there.

What events are you hoping to see?
I’m hoping to see a street course like Street League, but a real nice one.

Who will have the best skate team?
I think Brazil, because they have all those crazy skaters like Kelvin Hoefler and Luan Oliveira.

What do you think this will do for skating?
It may separate people. I’ve been reading different articles about this, about how people will be getting into skating for the wrong reasons. I think that will happen. It may make a divide, like people who aren’t as good at skating aren’t going to feel as good as the Olympic athletes and may wanna quit sooner. People may not skate for fun anymore, only skate for competition.

carter-lambo

CARTER LAMBO

Age: 14
Hometown: Fairfield, Connecticut, USA
Are you excited about skating being in the Olympics?
Yes. It’ll be cool to see how they build the park, it’ll probably be huge!

What events do you wanna see?
Vert and street, or maybe like a “Real Street” competition, that would be cool.

What skaters do you wanna see compete?
Nyjah, Sean Malto, there’s that Tas Pappas from Australia, but I don’t know if he’s in it.

nicholasstone

NICHOLAS STONE

Ages: 17
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
What do you think of skateboarding being in the Olympics?
Definitely mixed on it. It’s a culture more than it is a sport, but I do like the fact that the skaters will getting paid what they deserve. The skaters must be worried about that drug test though, more than half these skaters aren’t passing that.

Will this cause a divide in skateboarding?
It will definitely change the way a lot of the young kids get into skating. When I got into it, it was just to hang out with the homies, now kids will skate to get into the Olympics.

Who would you like to see in the Olympics?
Definitely some different skaters than you see now with Street League. We’re used to seeing the completely known guys, the Ishods, the Nyjahs, the Chris Coles, the Luans, but I definitely wanna see some more unknown kids, like Jeffwonsong, kid is so sick.

robert-jacobson-and-melena-jacobson

MELENA & ROBERT JACOBSON

Ages: 16 & 18
Hometown: Hamburg, Germany
What is your first thought of skateboarding being in the Olympics?
Robert: It doesn’t really fit with your other sports in the Olympics. I don’t think skateboarding is about competition and who is best, I think it’s about fun and different styles.
Melena: It’s about individual style, and I don’t think competitions are really about the individuality of the people who are competing, it’s more like who can do the most difficult tricks. Style is in the background.

What team will you root for?
Melena: I would pick by the skaters who are competing, it’s not about where they’re from if I like them.
Robert: It’s about the skater, not the country.

What skaters would you like to see in the Olympics?
Robert: I would like to see skaters whose style I appreciate and skate more interestingly, but just in the USA there a lot of talented skaters like Nyjah Huston who can do the hardest tricks. But I like guys who skate different, there a lot of guys who are less known who would be interesting, like Dane Brady for example.
Melena: Yeah, he’s got a cool style, but I don’t think he’d compete.
Robert: He’s known for ideas and spots, but not the hardest tricks.
Melena: If the spots are normal in competition there would be less space for creativity. Skaters like Dane Brady or Madars Apse don’t really fit in that Olympic contest.

How do you think the skating will be judged?
Melena: I hope the judges don’t just care about the tricks, but also creativity and the style, this could happen…
Robert: But you really can’t judge that, it’s opinion.

Do you think this is good for skateboarding?
Melena: For skaters who’ve had fewer opportunities to skate, now their countries will invest and build skateparks just because of the Olympics. The sport could become more popular even for girls because girls who see other women skate could inspire others to take it up.
Robert: It would’ve been good if these countries just pushed skateboarding in general, without the Olympics!

crewles

christain henry, anthony melendez, deron simons, Henry Luella & steven jahmal

Ages: 18, 15, 20, 14 & 16
Hometowns: Coconut Creek, FL; East New York, NY; Flatbush, NY; Manhattan, NY; Pompano Beach, FL, USA
What do you think of skateboarding being in the Olympics?
Christian: I think it’s pretty dope, I think it will make skateboarding more official.
Anthony: I thought it was fake when I heard that!
Deron: Yeah, I thought it was just a rumor! But I’m glad the whole world will see skating in the Olympics. Third world countries that don’t have it now will start getting into it. You’ll see skateboarding on TV more. It’s going to be heavy. More money will go into it, RocNation will probably get into skateboarding – they’ll get Nyjah! It will be bigger than ever.

What would you like to see in the Olympics?
Henry: I want them to build a park that is more street, like have the ledges all crunchy – crunchy ledges – like a real street spot.
Deron: I don’t wanna see them foreign skaters, only United States. If you weren’t born in the US, no Olympics, only American skaters!

Do you think the Olympics is good for skateboarding?
Christian: Well, people will now have to see it as a sport, which means more opportunities for skating and more money.
Steven: It will help skateboarding by bringing more people into it, it’ll build itself. The companies will grow, the number of skaters will grow, the money will grow. It’s already a trend, but Olympics will make skating bigger than ever, but it’ll make it different too. I look at it like a lifestyle, it will never be a sport to me.

Comments

  1. Baumgarten

    August 11, 2016 12:38 pm

    At least there are some kids who realize how stupid it is to cheer for a certain country in skateboarding.

    • wow ok

      August 12, 2016 9:10 pm

      gee, jenkem really still talking about the olympics wow smh

      • hypothetical krusty

        August 17, 2016 9:15 pm

        This might end up making skating more cool …skating is in the olympics one time in Tokyo 2020. its a shit show. skaters are flipping birds and grabbing their nuts in celebration of tricks. other skaters are high on weed and other PEDs. bad publicity happens. skateboarding is eliminated for the 2024 games. as a result skating becomes really cool and rebellious because its too bad ass for the oLAMEpics.

    • Skate TV

      August 18, 2016 1:19 pm

      Skateboarding in the olympics is only gonna have an influence for people who watch TV. If you dont watch TV you will never even see the olympics, or the comercials, or Bob Costas talking about Nyjah Huston. If you watch TV you are already a kook. A bunch people are crying about how it will taint their art and make kids only wanna skate to be in the olympics. Who cares. Those people are TV watching sheep anyway. Dont watch it, dont pay attention to it, and it wont change a thing for you. And you’re not cool or creative or unique for being a skateboarder anyway so get over it.

  2. Dave

    August 11, 2016 12:59 pm

    Skateboarding does belong in the Olympics because other individualistic performance art type sports like gymnastics and figure skating not to mention snowboarding are in it. It’s not like it’s all just basketball and football type sports.

    • Fred

      August 11, 2016 2:38 pm

      Skateboarding should not be in the Olympics because there’s no way to judge or put points on the way someone skates. When you compete in the Olympics you can’t roll by your own rules, which is the nature of our culture.
      Also, people from the Olympic Committee who are responsible for this shit only see skateboarding as something that they can profit on. They don’t care about our values, our culture. They don’t represent us in any way. I bet most of them have never stepped on a board. They just want skateboarding to bring young audience to the Olympics so they can profit on that.

      • torched

        August 11, 2016 7:52 pm

        Street League invented a system for scoring points on tricks. It will be used in the olympic contests.

      • Fat Freddys Cat

        August 12, 2016 5:44 am

        Have you not paid attention to the fact that people have been judging skateboard contests since the 70s?

  3. Kirsty

    August 11, 2016 1:42 pm

    I have been following this story for a while and have very mixed emotions regards the Olympics. Like many here I believe skateboarding will now become two very divided groups. Those looking for Olympic glory and those who will skate everyday just for the love of it. This is just like any other sport. But that’s were I have reservations. Skateboarding has never been truly labelled a sport until now. It has always been a lifestyle, something you life, breath and share with like minded people. Cpuld the label ‘sport’ change the feel of skateboarding. We shall just have to wait and see. The most notable comments that I feel need addressing are the issues of funding. The olypimcs will not provide any more funding for skateboarding. This is always an opinion that comes from a new sport entering for the first time. There will unlikely be new parks for the public, or new investment. Most training ‘camps’ will be for athletes only. As only 40 skateboarders from around the world will be invited to participate that will not bring masses of investment. There maybe an uptake in numbers for a short period but stats have shown in most Olympic sports this is short lived. The advice from snowboarding and bmx is not to have high expectations. The Olympic committee have picked skateboarding because they know ticket sales will be high, viewing figures good and sales of t-shirts better than the average sports already on offer. I look forward to continuing to follow this story and see what comes from the Olympic effect.

    • krusty

      August 11, 2016 10:12 pm

      can you name some skaters that are skating at a level that could win major contests but are choosing not to because they only skate for fun. I will argue that all skaters that skate for fun are not capable of actually winning a contest and thus have chosen not to skate them. Skateboarding has been a sport for while now thanks to SLS and ESPN. Dont you think already some young skaters are growing up aspiring to be in Street league

      • bizarro krusty

        August 11, 2016 10:44 pm

        Can you name some skaters that are skating at a level that could invent new tricks and film the most interesting video parts but are choosing not to because they only skate for contest money. I will argue that all skaters that skate for contest money are not capable of actually filming creative parts and thus have chosen not to skate in them. Skateboarding has been an art for a while now thanks to _____ (insert your favorite film/skate crew here). Don’t you think already some young skaters are growing up aspiring to be in the next Fancy Lad video

      • krusty

        August 17, 2016 2:07 pm

        Real clever Bizzaro Krusty but creativity and competition exist for different reasons. whether you like it or not skateboarding is both art and sport at the same time. I do believe there are kids growing up striving to create interesting skating for art sake. Plenty of creative skaters enter contests also; Sky Siljeg, ben Raybourn, Oskar Rozenberg to name a few. Who out there could win a major contest but is too artistic to do so? nobody. Its strange how people think that a corporate TV competition is gonna ruin their precious art when they have been a mainstay since the Xgames started in the late ’90s. Tons of good stuff has come out since then, stuff that has shaped skateboardings culture. Some people like contests and others dont, but in no way should a tv contest change your overall love for skating and art. Art is such a loose term anyway. Some guy put a bunch of live horses in a gallery and called it art. Some other guy wrote a name on urinal, put it on a sculpture stand, and called it art. A bunch of other dudes made videos of their buddies skateboarding in silly outfits and called it art. Art is what you make it. Skating is what you make it.

  4. TYPO

    August 11, 2016 1:56 pm

    Change ‘seem’ to ‘see’ here:

    Deron: I don’t wanna seem them foreign skaters, only United States. If you weren’t born in the US, no Olympics, only American skaters!

    • TYPIST

      August 11, 2016 4:01 pm

      Also adjust Deron’s xenophobia. WTF, bro? Only US skaters? Eric Koston wasn’t born in the US. Neither was Chris Haslam, the OG woodland wizard, or Manny Santiago, who was actually born a bull in the lowlands of Puerto Rico, but then ate a crate of Viagra and was transformed into an oily kick flip front 50-50 machine.

      • Jerry

        August 11, 2016 5:30 pm

        That wasn’t a typo, you just made it grammatically incorrect with your correction.

        And that would be censorship.

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        August 11, 2016 5:59 pm

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