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How the Olympics Could Boost Skateboarding

ByDave Stopher

Jun 14, 2018

In 2016, it was announced that in addition to surfing and karate, skateboarding would be included in the Olympics for the first time at the 2020 games in Tokyo. This will take the form of two skating disciplines – street and park – where approximately 80 skaters (40 men and 40 women), will compete, representing their country for that all-important gold medal.

This is great news for the International Skateboarding Federation (ISF), who have been actively campaigning for inclusion and recognition from Olympic officials. However, the move divided the skating community. For many skaters, this is exciting news as that it has been recognised as a sport. While for others, they see turning skateboarding into a competitive sport as something that could change the dynamic of the skating scene.

But could the Olympics really change skateboarding? It seems there are a number of ways in which its inclusion in the games could boost the sport.

Introducing a New Generation

First and foremost, skateboarding is known for its community. It represents a lifestyle that brings together a group of like minded people. However, as an underground sport, it tends to go through periods of decline. By bringing it into the mainstream through the Olympics, it could help to cement its popularity and increase the number of boarders across the globe.

Closing the Gender Gap

Skating has long experienced a gender divide, with more male skaters than female. However, with Olympic teams that are expected to have an equal split of men and women riders, it could open up boarding to more women. This is because an increase in investments and funding, better access to training and a rise in the number of facilities could allow more females to enter the sport. In turn, this means the Olympics could help to close the gender gap in skating.

Skating Brands Could Benefit

If you were asked to name large sporting brands, chances are, no skating companies would come to mind. However, as well as the potential to benefit riders, the Olympics could boost skating brands, from deck manufacturers to stores like Skatehut. This could happen through sponsorships and promotion at the games, but also through more people engaging with the sport, buying products and getting involved with the skating scene.

 

In the UK, skateboarding has been growing in popularity for a number of years. As such, there are currently 1,600 skate parks and facilities across the country. However, whether Britain will compete in the 2020 Olympics is yet to be confirmed. Regardless of this outcome, this recognition could help to boost its reputation and popularity worldwide.