July 30, 2008

Put Skateboarding in the Olympics

The 14th (can you believe it?) installment of the X Games kicks off tomorrow, and it will be followed next weekend by the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics. While the Winter Olympics have borrowed heavily from the Winter X Games, the summer versions of the events haven't had much overlap so far. That needs to change - it's time to put skateboarding in the Olympics.

Just a few years ago, it would have been unthinkable to have snowboarding in the Olympics. Skiing was a respectable sport, but snowboarding was just an excuse for punk kids to terrorize your nice family outing on the slopes. Now snowboarding is just as much a part of the Olympics as skiing. Parallel giant slalom, superpipe and snowboard cross are Olympic events, and the last two were lifted directly from the Winter X Games. The snowboard cross event in particular was completely stolen from Winter X. All Olympic skiing events are raced against the clock, but the X Games puts snowboarders and skiers all on the same course at the same time. This makes for much more interesting racing, and it's a credit to the International Olympic Committee that it took note and adopted one of the best innovations of the X Games.

Unlike its hibernal sister, the Summer Olympics have resisted adopting anything that might be considered "extreme." Sure, every year there are exhibition sports that show some crappy sport that's popular wherever the Olympics are being held, but it's time for the Olympics to grow and welcome in a little piece of the X Games: skateboarding.

Fourteen years of the X Games (and about 20 years of skateboarding before that) have led to a sport that is mature but still exciting and growing all the time. The most obvious candidate for adoption as an Olympic sport would be the halfpipe. Halfpipe (or "vert" as it is called in the X Games) is the most recognizeable skateboarding discipline. It would also have natural parallels with the Winter Olympics snowboarding superpipe.

Some purists and Luddites will undoubtedly resist such a change, but these same people probably resisted adding baseball in 1992 and beach volleyball in 1996. The Olympics has always added events (albeit slowly) for sports that become popular. Skateboarding has clearly reached the point where it's ready for inclusion in the biggest sports event in the world.

Plus, who doesn't want to see more of this guy?

OK, maybe it's not such a good idea after all.

5 Responses:

J-Red said...

The only thing I'll remember about Turin in two more years is Lindsay Jacobellis falling on her ass while prematurely celebrating in the snowboard race event.

big tuna said...

Isn't BMX in the Olympics this year? It is already starting.

Brien said...

BMX racing is, not the trick events. I don't think that quite qualifies as "extreme." But I guess it's close.

triangle said...

How nice if skateboarding is in the olympics but I thing sooner or later it wiil happen. Bad news for skateboard base company they will have to compete with other sports products giants. Good news for am skaters in the thirt world they will got the chance to participate internationaly along side the pros.

Anonymous said...

I think it's a great idea. But just like the controversy of why roller skating isn't in the summer olympics when it's been around for decades; skateboarding is considered clunky and loud not smooth like snowboarding!
Hope it makes it because I'd like to see that since I go to the summer X Games every year.