Photo Ian Logan
We've heard lots rumors and questions floating around about skateboarding in the Olympics, so we thought we'd put together a series of articles, and update you as things change, so you know what's really happening.
For some skateboarders it's a very exciting time to think about skateboarding's possible inclusion to the Olympics, to others, it is something they are very much against. This article is to provide information, and answer questions that people are asking - pro or con.
I heard skateboarding is definitely being included in the Olympics - is that true?
It's still up for inclusion - no final announcement has been made.
When will they make the final decision?
The announcement will be made in August 2016
What year would it be in Olympics, and where would it be?
Not until 2020, in Tokyo, Japan
Will it be vert, street, or bowl skateboarding?
It looks like it's between street and bowl at the current time. We are also seeing a shift towards "Park Terrain".
We keep hearing the initials IOC - what does that stand for?
International Olympic Committee
What is the age requirement for the Olympics?
There is no specific age limit for taking part in the Olympic Games. This depends on each International Sports Federation and the rules it lays down for its sport. So right now we have no idea what age they will lay down for skateboarding.
Just to give you an idea - you may remember that in 2014, snowboarding sensation, 13 year old Chloe Kim, qualified for the Olympics but was too young to be able to compete, as snowboarding's Olympic Games age limit was 15 years old.
Podium at 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics for Women's Halfpipe - Gold Kaitlyn Farrington (USA) Silver Torah Bright (AUS) Bronze Kelly Clark (USA) Photo: jdpfreesport.com
Who will be in charge of skateboarding leading up to the Olympics?
That too, is still up for debate. Right now the skateboarding industry is heavily supporting Gary Ream and the International Federation of Skateboarding (ISF) as the group they'd like to be in charge.
More info on that via Transworld Business:
It was announced this week that Vans and it's Vans Pro Park Series has partnered with ISF to create the first ever "Park Terrain World Champion Points Ranking System" to create and uphold guidelines to define and elevate the park terrain discipline worldwide by establishing the premier global points ranking system for park terrain skateboarding, culminating with the official crowning of a park terrain world champion for men and women this August in Malmö, Sweden. The goal of the partnership will promote an influential global platform for organized skateboarding, showcasing expert athleticism while maintaining the unique culture and values of skateboarding.
There are four qualifier comps in this series worldwide for the men, the one women's comp will be held July 30, 2016 in Huntington Beach, California. The World Championships will be held in Malmö, Sweden on August 20, 2016.
What changes are being put in place right now that benefit female skaters?
We've seen some already, the inclusion of women in Street League for one. The WSA (Women's Skateboarding Alliance) and Skate Like a Girl's, "Wheels of Fortune" comp coming up on May 6-8, 2016 in Seattle acts as a wild card qualifier for the upcoming X Games. More companies are looking to sponsor female skaters, and support for women's skateboarding is growing within the industry. Prize money has also risen slightly.
Why are we just seeing these things now?
Because any new sport included into the Olympics must include both sexes, and our skateboarders, male and female must have a points system in place and a series of contests that can later act as qualifiers for the Olympic berth. Much in the way snowboarding did when it was included in the Olympics.
In the past this wasn't always the case, female ski jumpers had to fight the IOC to be included and were only added into the Olympics in 2014. Since ski jumping for men has been an Olympic sport for 90 years, the women's division wasn't a given and the girls in the sport fought long court battles to be included.
How many skateboarders get to go to the Olympics?
Three skateboarders from each country, male and female, will go and there will also be an alternate in case of injury, illness, etc.
Are all the girls we see competing in USA contests up for the USA slots?
No, some girls like Poppy Starr Olsen (Australia) and Leticia Bufoni (Brazil) would be competing for their home country. Another example, Amelia Brodka was born in Poland, so she could choose which country, Poland or USA, she would like to qualify for. Any girl who may live in the USA, but has dual citizenship could choose to compete for another country other than the USA.
How many countries can really send skaters to compete at the level we see here in the USA?
You'd be surprised! We have spoken to people in Iran, and those girls are training now to compete. Russia has girls who are already at top levels as well. Skateboarding is happening everywhere in the world, some places are a bit behind us at the moment, but if skateboarding is included in the Olympics they will have four years of training under their belt, so keep that in mind. Just because we see most skate coverage coming from the USA doesn't mean these other countries are not preparing.
Please let us know any Olympic questions you may have - we will try to find answers and post them here!
*Cindy Whitehead is 70's pro skateboarder and now a Sports Stylist® that has worked for the past 15 years with Olympic athletes that include; figure skater Michelle Kwan, snowboarders Shaun White, Hannah Teter, & Gretchen Bleiler, volleyball player Kerri Walsh, Swimmers Michael Phelps & Natalie Coughlin, Soccer players Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain, Abby Wambach, basketball player Kobe Bryant, and more. Her husband Ian Logan was selected by the IOC to be the only West Coast photographer to have unprecedented access to shoot the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, for a coffee table book that was released in 2003. Cindy is an avid watcher of both the summer and winter Olympics.
Previous articles on Girl is NOT a 4 Letter Word about skateboarding in the Olympics
How Talk of the Olympics is Already Making Skateboarding Better For Women.