On August 3, 2016, it was announced that skateboarding would make its debut in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. The reaction from the skate community was mixed. For some, it was the ultimate validation that our favorite pastime is now a part of the biggest sporting event on the planet. For others, it was the final step on our underground subculture’s path to the mainstream. Whichever side of the fence your opinion lies on, the bottom line here is that it’s happening.
For an entire year following the announcement there was an extreme lack of information. But this year things are starting to happen: World Skate struck a sanctioning deal with SLS to become part of the qualifying system for the Olympic Games; Brazil announced its national Skateboarding team; and we’ve even seen new world-class skateparks pop up in China and the Netherlands.
But what does all of this mean? As someone who’s been writing about skateboarding everyday for over a decade, I feel like I should have a much better understanding of how Olympic Skateboarding will work, and how it will affect our culture.
With that in mind, I connected with Josh Friedberg to get some answers. Josh is a former pro skater and you may remember him as one of the founders of 411 Video Magazine. He’s now the Skateboarding Director of World Skate, the IOC-recognized international federation governing skateboarding and the CEO of USA Skateboarding.
Needless to say, I learned a lot from our conversation about the logistics of introducing skateboarding as an Olympic event via Tokyo 2020. With hundreds of government-sponsored skateparks set to pop up around the globe over the next two years, and skateboarding slated to be one of the first events of the 2020 Games which has an estimated audience of five billion people, there’s no denying the impact that the Olympics will have on our world. Get ready… it’s coming.