SBD/Issue 216/Olympics

Will Action Sports Find Their Way Onto Beijing Sports Roster

White Waiting For Skateboarding
To Be Added To Olympic Roster
Leaders in skateboarding and BMX freestyle have “begun preparing for what they see as an inevitable leap to ... an invitation to compete at the Olympics,” according to Matt Higgins of the N.Y. TIMES. They “point to how [snowboarding] has made the Winter Games cooler, and they wonder, why not us?” But neither the Int’l Skateboarding Federation nor the Int’l BMX Freestyle Federation has applied to enter the Olympics. Gary Ream, co-Owner of the Woodward action sports summer camps, is “leading the way” for the two disciplines. Ream: “I don’t think it’s cool to say you want to be in the Olympics. That’s what’s wrong with the Olympics.” USA Skateboarding Exec Board VP Tony Hawk added, “At this point, the Olympics need skateboarding more than skateboarding needs the Olympics.” Higgins notes BMX racing has been added to the ’08 Beijing Games, and China’s communist gov’t has been “an unlikely ally for action sports.” Chinese Extreme Sports Association Secretary General Wei Xing indicated that action sports “could appear in the Olympics as soon as 2008, albeit in a limited exhibition format.” But Ream and others “want to ensure the core of skateboarding and BMX freestyle ultimately have control over their sports.” USA BMX Freestyle President Steve Swope: “We believe we know what’s best for these sports.” Swope added that “efforts were underway to create regional qualifiers, leading eventually to a national championship.” Higgins notes USA Skateboarding “plans to do the same” (N.Y. TIMES, 8/6).

ATHLETIC SUPPORTERS? Shaun White, who won a Gold Medal in snowboarding at the Turin Games this year and also competes in skateboarding, said if skateboarding gets into the Olympics, “I would support it for sure” (N.Y. TIMES, 8/6). But skateboarder Danny Way said, “Grouping skateboarding with [Olympic] sports, to me, is taking the soul out of what we do” (L.A. TIMES, 8/7).

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