August 10, 2016/ / ARTICLES/ Comments: 58

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.



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.



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.



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.”



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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!


christain, anthony, deron, Henry & steven

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.

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  1. lem

    August 11, 2016 2:13 pm

    I call bullshit on Ethan Isles, no way a kid said that.

    • Gou4Gold 2020

      August 11, 2016 2:20 pm

      Haha I was thinking that too.

    • Persona

      August 11, 2016 6:34 pm

      Why? First of all, he isn’t American, which seems to be a vital point here because apparently most of the USA youth opinions on skateboarding and Olympics seems retarded, secondly that kid looks and reminds me a true skate rat and lastly he’s over 13.

  2. brad stabya

    August 11, 2016 3:23 pm

    the thing that’s gonna suck the most about skateboarding being in the olympics is a completely oversaturated market of entrepreneurs making whack skate companies (which is already beginning). A lot of people are going to get confused about what is a skateboard company (and skateshop) and the product they sell versus some dingus who doesn’t skate putting a basic and sell-able graphic with no concept on a cheap board and calling it a day.

  3. lewis

    August 11, 2016 4:29 pm

    dude wanting to see tas pappas cracked me up but the dumb fuck that only want americans in it needs lesson in how the olympics work. personally i dont think we have any place there, idont think its good to encourage more big brand into the industry and take more away from the skaters that have put there hart and soul into it for countless years. i see it as the beggings of the end but hopefuly the day will come when it goes back to just skaters who love it.

  4. Bobb

    August 11, 2016 5:01 pm

    I don’t share these kids’ confidence the Olympics will necessarily benefit ordinary skateboarders like you and me. Keep in mind that not every Olympic event is automatically elevated to the stature of more established sports. Case in point would be curling. Whether skateboarding can look forward to greater public acceptance than it currently does thanks to all the street leagues and what not is the question. Whether we should want such greater acceptance is another. I’m not some kind of snob who wants to keep skateboarding pure and exclusive or something – we’re already far beyond that now. I’d like it if all those kids with scooters and related toys with wheels started skateboarding instead. But I don’t know if we need more skateparks. I don’t want to deprive kids living in Hicktown USA of a place to skate. It’s just that contests and big commercial spectacles and the like tend to frame skateboarding as something that you do in a designated place, just like more traditional sports. Greater acceptance of skateboarding as an ‘official’ sport won’t necessarily translate into greater public acceptance of street skating – authorities might very well crack down harder on kids engaging in actual street skating when a town has an ‘official’ place to skate.

    • Brade Dany

      August 15, 2016 11:43 am

      this, this reply hits the nail on the head.

    • Krusty

      August 17, 2016 8:36 pm

      There has always been an underlying result of having a new skatepark in your town. A designated place made for skaters so the police can keep you off the streets and confined to a small fenced off area. A skate park seems safe for the kids and is great fun to skate at, whatever whatever, but the unseen truth is that you are being controlled to only skate in the allocated zone.

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