Will skateboarding be added to the 2020 Summer Olympics program? The International Olympic Committee will vote on 3rd August ahead of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro to determine the addition of the new sports. Usually the Olympics don't attract younger viewers, but the raging success of snowboarding in the Winter Games has them thinking that skateboarding could be a saviour for the Summer Games.
Last June, it was reported that skateboarding was one of nine sports shortlisted for the Games. And in September, that number was narrowed to five. The other four new sports expected to be confirmed on the Tokyo 2020 programme at the IOC Session starting tomorrow, are baseball and softball, karate, sport climbing and surfing.
The loud, polarizing opinions that the Olympics have inspired, make one feel as if skateboarding is on the brink of a civil war -The Ride Channel
Tony Hawk, one of the sport's legends and pioneers thinks it's a necessity.
"There are more participants in skateboarding than most sports so I feel like they (the Olympics) need our credibility and they need our excitement level in their Summer Games," Hawk said, according to an AP report.
Some thoughts from the sports enthusiasts in India on skateboarding & the 2020 Olympics;
Nick Smith at Khar Social ©Hindustan Times
"I welcome skateboarding's inclusion into the Olympics. The kooks are realising that the event needs the excitement skateboarding will add. I don't think this will overly effect the scene much. Let's face it the inclusion of soccer and basketball has had little to no effect on the kids kicking a ball around with coats for goalposts or the kids on the corner shooting hoops. Let's hope some of the huge amounts of money that get thrown at this may even trickle down to benefit the skate community"
- Nick Smith (Also known as the god-father of skateboarding in India, UK)
Russell Lopez Cruising Around
"I think it's awesome. And skateboarding is a perfect fit for the Olympics because what the Olympics are, are a way to highlight feats of athleticism. For which people practice everyday for years so that when the time comes they perform flawlessly. So yes exactly skateboarding!"
-Russell Lopez (Skateboarder from Flippin' Awesome, Bombay)
Jay Kinra during Skate Social in Bombay ©Dhruv Vishwasrao
It's a catch 22 really. On the one hand the Olympics gives the sport an immense exposure and will encourage so many new participants to give it a try. On the other hand, it also takes skateboarding away from it's current kinda underground alternative status. However, when I think about it on a deeper level, to me skateboarding is an art form and there are all kinds of artists. Some that like to participate in competitions and some that do it as a self-expression. I feel to each their own in this matter. So there is no real issue of debate here. It's just another facet of the sport.
- Jay Kinra (Veteran skateboarder from California, Pune)
Utkarsh Gupta Sand Flippin ©Hari Adivarekar
"Skateboarding in Olympics will for sure bring governmental aid for streamlining it, but it can NEVER replace the roots on which it stands.. ABSOLUTE FREEDOM"
-Utkarsh Gupta (Skateboarder from RSB, Ranchi)
But, while it fulfills the IOC aim for the Olympics to appeal to younger generations, its inclusion has generated huge controversy.