Tokyo’s 2020 Summer Olympics Games will be the first in history to include skateboarding as an official Olympic sport.

Voted in unanimously by the IOC, Olympic skateboarding will include men’s and women’s park and street events, with a total of 80 skaters competing in each category. Given the grassroots culture that spawned skateboarding as we know it today, it’s easy to lament the decision to include the sport in such a branded commercial event, even if it remains unseen what will come from adding skateboarding to this global sporting stage. After the announcement, petitions even appeared online, appealing to the IOC to overturn the decision.

We tapped some professional skateboarders and skateboarding insiders to get their thoughts on the forthcoming 2020 Olympic Games.

Jim Goodrich

Tony Ferguson, Professional Skateboarder & Owner of RONE Footwear…

“Whether you like it or not, this will give skateboarding more exposure on a global level, and I believe it will help the skateboard industry in general. There has been so much backlash and hating, personally I’m not into it, but I don’t think it will hurt skateboarding, we already have this kind of contest format happening with Street League etc. There will always be real hardcore skaters that hit the streets. Skateboarding is just maturing and there are different levels to it now.”

Tony Alva, Skateboarding Legend…

“Ive always said the Olympics need us a lot more than we need them. Skateboarding as a creative art form needs to disassociate with political corruption and a greedy IOC association. The olympics in general are all about the rich getting richer. The poor and down-trodden are victims of their so-called progress. The list is long too, Greece, China, Russia, and recently Brazil. It’s a long shitty trail of violations of human rights and justice. Fuck the corporate assholes in charge of the Olympics. The athletes are the only people that really have any soul. They too are being exploited for all the wrong reasons. Keep it real, boycott the Olympics. Unless they clean up their act.”

Justin Reagan, Director of Skateboard Marketing at Vans…

“There’s a lot of hand-wringing over the Olympic announcement right now, but the truth is that the Olympics will never define skateboarding, just like the Olympics will never define basketball. Every four years it will come and go and we can choose to ignore it or boycott it, and as far as the rest of the world is concerned, leave skateboarding in the hands of traditional sports promoters and crooked opportunists. Or, we can look at the Olympics as another platform to share skateboarding’s unique culture and possibly grow participation. At Vans, we choose the latter.”

Aaron Smith / Skateboarder Magazine

Bob LaSalle, Lifestyle Guru & Semi-Retired Skateboarder…

“The Olympics will legitimize skateboarding in the eyes of government heads around the world. We can expect to see investment on their part towards training facilities (good skateparks) and towards athlete training programs (real dollars for skateboarders). The mainstream attention garnered through the Olympics will draw new enthusiasts to pump energy and dollars into the industry. With all these different channels funnelling resources into skateboarding, we’re gonna see some outsiders trying to creep in and grab a slice of the pie. It’s up to skateboarders to protect the culture, and we’re good at that. The nerds will get pushed out. All things considered, having skateboarding in the Olympics will be beneficial to our art/sport.”

Rob ‘Sluggo’ Boyce, Professional Skateboarder & Stuntman…

“The Olympics just won the lottery by inducting skateboarding into a starved market. Viewership, sponsorship and revenue streams will change dramatically because of this recent addition to the games. I am excited to see a paradigm shift on how our activity is perceived. After all, skateboarders are the ones your mother warned you about.”

Shane Heyl, Professional Skateboarder & Owner of Shake Junt…

“Get there while you can!”

Kerry Getz, Professional Skateboarder…

“When I was competing in the X Games and spent time in the lunch rooms, the uncomfortable level was pretty high. I’d love to be a fly on Michael Phelps’s lunch at the olympics. Fuck it! Let’s go America!”

Brian Fick

Jimmy Gorecki, Professional Skateboarder…

“Ultimately, skateboarding has experienced a lot of growth and this is end result. Obviously there will be some blow-back, but if skateboarding is kept to traditional routes, street course, vert contest, and pool/bowl contest, than what difference would it be from Street League, Vans contests, or events like the Tampa Pro. The only difference is some guys will have to pass drug tests. If you look at Street League, there are plenty of talented international players that would represent their home turf extremely well. P-Rod for the US, Luan and Rodrigo for Brazil, David Gonzalez for Colombia, Ryan Decenzo for Canada, Bastian for France. Those six alone offer a pretty dynamic international perspective. In regards to commercial perspective, people have to eat. This addition to the contest circuit could keep the industry moving and keep money flowing. Obviously, CEOs and CFOs are eating but also the professionals, as well as all the the sales teams, marketing teams, etc. All those people behind the scenes are skaters too and have mouths to feed.”

Now take a sonic journey through 25 of skateboarding’s most iconic video segments.

  • Main & Featured Image: ESPN

Vancouver-born, Berlin-based writer, photographer and editor with a steady hand on the keyboard.

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