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. Persona

    August 11, 2016 7:10 pm

    Do you see what is the most used name in this whole “skateboarding and Olympics” topic? Money. Everyone that has a positive view on this mentions “money”. It’s everywhere. Money, more money, bigger, more money, more people, more money. When did skateboarding became all about money and all about getting bigger and getting more popular? Wasn’t this what skateboarding values have always been against? We’ve been fine even through the darkest days of skateboarding industry where there basically was no money. And the ones who wanted still skated or the ones who truly wanted still picked up skateboarding. What happened with the good old saying “skateboarding is all about fun” which became self explanatory for everyone?

    Also it’s sad how much of a sponge these young people’s views and opinions are and how easily they are affected with vaguely read articles or poorly reasoned positive opinions and misinformed opinions on the net. I mean every single article and interview which has a positive vibe to it, is from an insiders view or someone who is on one or another way connected with the industry and might directly gain monetary profit from it. Tell me, who the fuck will it benefit or how will it affect positively your every single “average” skateboarder that is out there? It won’t. Do you really think that governments have these spare funds that they suddenly on large scale will flow into skateboarding’s “development” and “infrastructure”? More skateparks? We don’t need them. And you’re pretending as if there aren’t already enough of them everywhere. Even in most 3rd world countries there are better or worse skateparks in almost every populated area. Goddamn people, just open your eyes and be reasonable. This is nothing but beneficial marketing for several interested individuals and corporations.

    • Persona

      August 11, 2016 7:55 pm

      Also do you see the correlation between the photographs where kids are being humble having the more pure view and constructive opinion than the kids who are faking it in the picture?

    • krusty

      August 17, 2016 8:52 pm

      do you expect every skateboarder to have the same views and values as you? whether skating is small or huge, dark days or light, somebody somewhere will own a skate company and be trying to make it profitable. Skateboard is all about fun for the dudes that don’t own a skate business. I agree that olympic skateboarding wont change a damn thing for the average skater


    August 11, 2016 11:32 pm

    This will help the sport grow immensely in countries like China. Olympics or no Olympics skateboarding doesn’t change. It’s cool. Especially for kids in places that really need the legitimization if they want to convince their parents it’s something worthwhile to practice and invest their time in. If that means saying it’s an “Olympic Sport” so be it.

  3. Agony78

    August 12, 2016 5:23 am

    1. Sorry for my bad english
    2. The whole discussion for me seems to be totally hypocritical. Skateboarding was always about money. Otherwise there wouldn’t be any brands producing decks, trucks, shoes, wheels etc. Every “we are so core”-brand and -shop is about making money. Your favorite pro is an object for marketing, your favorite printmagazine exists obly because of advertising from branda that want to sell product etcetc…
    The other point is, skateboarding has always been an activity if competition in the sense of comoeting against other people in contests, to show them “i am the best”. For decades. I think there have been contests sice the 50ies. And there have always been ways to judge skateboarding.

    At least it’s the same shit like this longboarding discussion. Mainly people who were teens in the 90ies being afraid of loosing their monopoly to be cool. What’s your problem with longboarding, Olympics? Think about it, do your homework, leave your capsule. At least skateboarding will be for you, what you want it to be for you. Believe it or not. I was a teen in the nineties, i prefer a magenta vid to streetleague. I would buy in the local shop if they had any stuff that i need (another discussion…) but i have no problem with girls in skateboarding, with people longboarding, with people wanting to compete in contests, with the olympics…
    I would like street, bowl, freestyle and longboarddownhill to be in the olympics. I would watch only street. And i wouldn’t really care at all.

    • Persona

      August 12, 2016 6:54 am

      The act of skating was never about the money. It’s common sense that for brands to produce their hardgoods and other products they have to sell their stuff, make profit to maintain and exist as well as recover the costs of production. There wouldn’t be suppliers if there wasn’t a demand, t. It’s also a common sense that skateboarding media have to make living out of something. It’s just the materialistic world we live in and all of us have to pay our payments. But skateboarding itself was never about the money itself. The act of skating was exactly the opposite of that, it’s the way to escape from the capitalism world for a moment. Otherwise there wouldn’t be saying – if you’re skating just to get sponsored or for your sponsors – you’re doing it wrong.
      Goddamn, why these clueless people are allowed to preach? Skateboarding has never been a competition against each other and most definitely not between countries. All the rivalry in the 70’s and 80’s were blown up basically by the crowd and no one dropped in the bowl or half-pipe during a contest with a mindset “to beat his rival or someone at the contest”. It was to do your own run, show yourself the best to gain exposure and following. Getting into a magazine was what it was all about. “To show them “I’m the best””? Ahaha, seriously? That kind mindset has been non-existent in skateboarding even since the beginning. For decades? There hasn’t been a professional skateboarder who with all of his seriousness would have said that or at least not loud in public. About nowadays Nyjah’s and other contest jocks we could discuss though. And first skateboarding “contests” only appeared in mid 60’s, so yeah, do your homework and leave your capsule before you preach complete dogshit.

  4. Agomy78

    August 12, 2016 9:38 am

    Yes, “at least not in public”. And that’s the perfect marketing strategy ;-) do you really think, hawk or mullen didn’t want to be the best? Powell or rocco didn’t want to make profit?

    Well, i have to admit, i did my homework wrong according to the contests. At least i think, we both appreciate the same or similar faces of skateboarding. Don’t let any jocks or olympics ruin your interpretation. To take another subculture for comparison: graffiti made it into art galleries and museums. But you still get serious problems if getting caught bombing the streets or subways… That’s the most important thing i wanted to say.

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