Snowboarding was the first of the big three board sports to make its Olympic debut back in 1998, but until recently a question mark has remained as to whether skateboarding and surfing would follow suit.
Today, that question was firmly resolved when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved the inclusion of skateboarding and surfing for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Although the decision was anticipated in the last year, and welcomed, by many industry insiders, the announcement is nonetheless polarizing for the action sports community, with the social-media-sphere full of both vengeful and celebratory commentary today.
Many skateboarding and surfing participants have long rallied against the mainstreaming of the sports, which some hesitate to even call sports, and feel that their inclusion in the Olympics is a purely profit-driven pursuit, and does not align with the cultures of skating and surfing.
Regardless, there’s no going back now so we might as well embrace it.
Here’s the official skate release.
Skateboarding in the Olympics, International Olympic Committee Announces Street and Park Events to Debut in Tokyo 2020
Orange County, Calif. — The Tokyo 2020 Skateboarding Commission, a collaboration between the Fédération Internationale de Roller Sports (FIRS) and the International Skateboarding Federation (ISF), is proud to announce the addition of Skateboarding into the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. At the International Olympic Committee (IOC) general session today in Rio de Janeiro, the IOC unanimously approved Skateboarding as one of five new sports making their historic Olympic debuts.
The Organizing Committee for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games proposed the new sports in response to the flexibility provided by Olympic Agenda 2020 which is the strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement. Skateboarding’s vast youth appeal, accessibility and legacy plan make it a perfect fit for Tokyo 2020’s vision of a youth-focused and inspiring Games.
“I’ve always believed that if skateboarding was properly protected and supported, its appearance on the Olympic stage could change the world,” said Gary Ream, Tokyo 2020 Skateboarding Commission Chairman and ISF President. “We’re excited to have that opportunity in Tokyo thanks to the IOC’s Agenda 2020 and the creation of the Tokyo 2020 Skateboarding Commission.”
The Tokyo 2020 Skateboarding Commission – a first-time partnership between FIRS and ISF – was formed under the guidance of the International Olympic Committee to ensure skateboarding competitions will be delivered at the highest level at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The Commission is in charge of all aspects of producing the Skateboard Street and Park Terrain events at the Games. The three-person, international panel of members that form The Tokyo Skateboarding Commission include: Gary Ream, President, ISF; Simone Masserini, Executive Director, FIRS; Neal Hendrix, pro skateboarder and ISF athlete representative.
“It will be our duty at the highest level to make sure that the presence of skateboarding in the Tokyo Olympic Games meets the highest expectations.”
Professional skateboarder and ISF athlete representative, Neal Hendrix, said: “I’m excited to be the athlete representative on the Tokyo 2020 Skateboarding Commission. It is really important to me that skateboarding culture is fairly represented and protected on this global stage, and I hope skateboarders worldwide will be proud of the show that the best male and female skateboarders in the world are going to put on in Tokyo in 2020.”
About Tokyo 2020 Skateboarding Commission (TSC)
The Tokyo 2020 Skateboarding Commission is a partnership between the Fédération Internationale de Roller Sports and the International Skateboarding Federation formed under the guidance of the International Olympic Committee. The TSC is in charge of all aspects of producing the Skateboard Street and Park Terrain events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
About Fédération Internationale de Roller Sports (FIRS)
The Fédération Internationale de Roller Sports is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the governing body of Skateboarding. As the governing body, FIRS is responsible for institutional matters related to skateboarding including anti-doping, match-fixing and illegal betting.
About International Skateboarding Federation (ISF)
The International Skateboarding Federation was established to provide direction and governance to the sport of skateboarding worldwide while upholding the culture, authenticity and lifestyle of skateboarding that is freedom of self-expression, passion and creativity.
And here’s the official surf release.
ISA THRILLED BY IOC DECISION TO ADD SURFING TO TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 3, 2016 – The International Surfing Association (ISA) has expressed its gratitude and excitement following today’s decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to add Surfing to the Sports Program for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The vote was taken at the 129th IOC Session in Rio de Janeiro.
ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, said:
“Our Olympic dream has now become a reality and on behalf of the entire Surfing family I would like to express our sincere thanks to the IOC and Tokyo 2020 for their pioneering vision in making this historic decision possible.
“This is a game-changing moment for Surfing. We are already seeing increased popularity of the sport across the world and the Olympic Games will provide an incredible platform to further showcase Surfing and its core values. With its unique and modern blend of sport performance, style and youth culture, Surfing will help deliver something special to the Games.
“We are especially stoked for the athletes who now have their own dream to shoot for – to compete for their countries on the greatest sporting stage. We can’t wait to see the world’s best going head to head on the waves in Tokyo and millions of Surfing fans revelling in the competition and the fantastic festival atmosphere of the beach party.
“We know the hard work does not stop here. We look forward with great enthusiasm and energy to working in partnership with the IOC and Tokyo 2020 as we aim to make Surfing’s Olympic debut a resounding success.”