The ISF has reacted positively to today’s announcement that skateboarding may feature as an additional sport on the official program of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The news came from the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee which published a shortlist of five additional sports to be proposed to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for inclusion in the 2020 Games. Skateboarding is listed alongside baseball / softball, karate, sports climbing and surfing and featured with women’s and men’s events in Street and Park. The total envisaged number of participating skateboarding athletes is 80 with an equal gender split.
Commenting on the announcement, ISF President Gary Ream said:
"Today’s announcement by Tokyo 2020 marks an important milestone in skateboarding’s short Olympic history which started with a first Olympic experience at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing in summer 2014. This decision recognizes the growth and popularity of skateboarding, and we appreciate that the IOC has made it possible for new sports to be added to the Games. The ISF and the skateboarding community are ready, equipped and well positioned to help make the first Olympic appearance of skateboarding an amazing one for skaters and fans alike."
The presentation of the shortlist by Tokyo 2020 follows a new and innovative process established by the IOC through its “Olympic Agenda 2020” strategic plan where Organizing Committees can make proposals for new sports to the IOC for consideration. The final decision will be taken by the full IOC membership in Rio de Janeiro in August 2016.
At a later date the IOC will confirm the International Federation that is responsible for the control and direction of skateboarding at the Olympic Games. The ISF is in dialogue with the IOC regarding the governance and management of skateboarding at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The ISF unites the greater skateboarding community under one umbrella and features icons of the sport (such as Tony Hawk and Bob Burnquist), current top ranked skateboarders (including Leticia Bufoni and Chris Cole), key event organizers (such as NBC, ESPN, Street League, Tampa Pro, WCS, The Boardr, CPH Pro etc.), industry leaders (IASC, Deluxe, Nike, Vans, DC etc.) and NGO representatives (Exposure, Next Up Foundation etc.) in its organizational structure.
At the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games, the ISF was tasked to prepare the skateboarding sessions and infrastructure for the Sports Lab. The showcase highlighted sports which may, in the future, merit Olympic inclusion. The Sports Lab became a huge success, with a daily peak of 5000 spectators. The ISF staged two Street and Vert skateboard exhibitions daily plus instructional sessions, and left the concrete-built street plaza skatepark for the community at the conclusion of the Games. The sessions featured top skateboarders such as Sean Malto (USA), Kelvin Hoefler (BRA), Chris Cole (USA), Leticia Bufoni (BRA), Renton Millar (AUS) and Paul Luc Ronchetti (UK).
Reactions from the skateboarding community on today’s announcement include:
Tony Hawk, Legendary Skateboarder:
"It is exciting that skateboarding could possibly be included in the Olympics. This is not only a great opportunity for our sport and the skaters, but also for the Games. It is now more important than ever to preserve the unique culture of skateboarding which makes our sport so appealing and relevant. I firmly believe that skateboarding’s interests can be best protected by skateboarders themselves. The ISF is doing an excellent job of including representatives from all corners of the skate community (and across the globe) to make sure that we are preserving our authenticity."
Leticia Bufoni, Professional Skateboarder from Brazil:
"I think it is true to say that almost every athlete dreams of going to the Games one day. It is the biggest sport event of the world and a unique platform to present our performances, passion and culture to the world. With so much at stake, we need to prepare everything thoroughly. All decisions about skateboarding’s appearance in the Olympic Games should be made by skateboarders. In the ISF they are all skateboarders and I hope they will lead the preparations for our events. The ISF people have unparalleled expertise, passion and support from the skateboarding community."
Chris Cole, Professional Skateboarder from the USA:
"I loved to be part of the skateboarding team at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing and very much enjoyed my first Olympic experience. Skateboarding in Tokyo 2020 would be much bigger and I’d hope to be there. The ISF did a great job in putting together the Nanjing sessions and I hope they’ll also look after the preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Games. During the last years, those guys have managed to unite the key players of our community and this is quite an achievement. They make sure that all decisions about skateboarding’s future will be made first and foremost by skateboarders and this is important."
Amelia Brodka, Professional Skateboarder from Poland and Co-Founder of EXPOSURE Skate:
"I am excited about the idea of getting skateboarding into the Olympics. If managed by the right people, this could be a lifetime opportunity to expose women’s skateboarding to a global audience and to get many more girls involved into our sport. I hope the ISF will be asked to represent us at the Games and lead the preparations for our Olympic events. They live and love skateboarding, have always given us a voice and just do what is good for our sport."
Ryan Decenzo, Professional Skateboarder from Canada:
"I am Canadian and my country loves the Olympics. I am no different and am enthusiastic about the idea of taking part in Tokyo 2020. Hopefully they get the right people to organize our events and I think they should go for the ISF. The ISF guys have skateboarding in their DNA and are highly respected among us. They have also managed to get industry leaders and event organizers on board which is important for the development of our sport."
Renton Millar, Professional Skateboarder from Australia:
"I remember how big the Olympics was in Sydney in 2000, and experiencing it as an athlete at the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games where skateboarding was an exhibition sport was a highlight. I just imagine dropping a skateboard contest into the biggest sporting event in the world. It would do so much for skateboarding, and so much for the world. I'd love to see the entire country of Australia get behind someone like Shane O’Neill. That would be amazing."
Brian Atlas, President and COO Street League Skateboarding (SLS):
"If skateboarding has the opportunity to be added to the Olympic Program, it needs to be in the right hands. At SLS we believe there is no better group to properly represent the best possible experience of competition skateboarding and the athletes than the ISF. We have worked with them for a long time and agreed a strategic partnership with them last year. Together we are working on evolving the SLS Super Crown World Championship global qualification system as it becomes the official street skateboarding World Championship for the ISF – this system could be instrumental in creating a fair
Olympic qualification process. Moreover, the ISF has already assembled a world class group of representatives throughout the globe that has the right intentions for skateboarding with this potential massive platform."