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27 - 28 October


Time: 9:00 - 17:30

Location: Magdalen College School, Brackley

Cost: £225



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Time: 9:00 - 17:30

Location: FAR Academy Skatepark

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21 - 22 November


Time: 9:00 - 17:30

Location: Mount Hawke Skatepark

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Skateboarding In The Olympics:
Are You On Board?


Lead Coach and Assessor Denham Hill gives his take on Skateboarding in the Olympics, and where this could take us in the future.





















July saw the International Olympic Committee make their final decisions on whether skateboarding was to be an Olympic sport. On the 3rd of August, at around 19:30PM GMT, skateboarding history was made as the IOC accepted the proposal to include skateboarding in the 2020 Summer Olympics. The decision came after many years of debate, among the IOC and, of course, skateboarders around the world, and many of us are left scratching our heads thinking, “Well, what happens now?”


So far, the IOC have decided that Skateboarding in the Olympics will consist of Men’s and Women’s Street and Park events, with competitors from around the globe receiving the same treatment as those competing in other more traditional Olympic sports. Whether strict dietary regimes are followed or not however, will be another quite interesting story altogether.


Skateboarding has been included along with 5 other new Olympic sports, as part of a “Youth focus urban cluster”. According to sources, it has also been said that the Olympic park would most likely be left standing, offering the public a chance to engage with skateboarding and to try out the course themselves. Skating a world class park…not bad. Also, skateboarding has a certain appeal to young people, as we know so well. That’s where we all started, right? But the debate has always been whether this will damage the integrity of skateboarding, its innocence and raw passion, and instead turn it into just another elitist sport whereby those with no real passion for skateboarding are featured on a world stage without experiencing it in its rawest form: A few friends, some wax and a curb, finding your own way without rules or structure. All these things come into question. Here’s a couple of my own arguments Against and For. Many of these have probably been discussed, as the whole thing has had some serious airtime over social media in recent months. I promise, I’ll try keep this brief…

Against Skateboarding In  The Olympics:

At the centre of the debate, many skaters argue whether skateboarding is even a “sport”. Skateboarding lacks the formal structure and (in most cases) governance of most traditional sports, and is so steeped in culture it’s often hard to define it as a sport. Most skaters would prefer to call it a lifestyle. It has its own culture and community, its own colloquialisms and its own rules, which are usually decided by the individual skater. This is what draws most of us to skateboarding. Its whole ethos and attitude appeals to us in a way little else can, and nowhere else can a bunch of long haired, loser kids feel accepted in such a way (not to stereotype, but we’ve all been there, right?!). There’s the worry that the core values of skateboarding will be diminished, as it is forced into the mainstream. But, I don’t think any skater worth his/her salt will allow that. At least I’d hope not. It’s the question of “does skateboarding need changing?” and if so, how? Skateboarding should remain inclusive and true to its roots. Will the new spotlight go to its head a little? Will it become another elitist sport? Who knows? Big corporations have had their foot in the door for some time now, and we still own skateboarding, it’s still ours and we didn’t “sell out”. The climate just changed a little and the face of skateboarding changed a little with it. But we still stay true to our roots.


Another argument against is the form of skateboarding that will be exhibited at the Olympics. The IOC have stated that there will be events for park and for street. Which is fantastic news if you skate park or street! If you don’t, prepare to be forced underground and join the realms of professional Yo-Yoing. The problem some skaters have here is that to the spectator, street and park WILL be skateboarding. That is what will be recognised as skateboarding, and everything else will fall to the wayside. As the only mainstream form of skateboarding, and the one most accessible to the public due to its introduction into the Olympics, what happens to other forms of skateboarding? Slalom? Longboarding? Vert? Freestyle? The concern is that these “styles” of skateboarding will simply be pushed further and further underground. As a freestyler, I can tell you through experience it’s hard enough to get through to big skateboarding companies anyway. However, if the hard core of skateboarders are forced underground, this could be a vital way of preserving skateboarding culture, creating a more vibrant scene than ever before as skaters ditch large corporations for small independents, stepping back into companies by skaters and for skaters. Well, we can dream…


Another standpoint, is whether the introduction to the Olympics will keep skateboarding inclusive. Will its new status make young people feel this is a sport only for the elite? Will young people across the world still be drawn to skateboarding now it has structure and, heaven forbid, RULES?! Will skateboarding maintain its appeal as an individual sport, where you create your own path? I would hope so.



























For Skateboarding In The Olympics:

This is a HUGE step forward for skateboarding. Exposure, on a massive, world-wide scale. This gives the opportunity for skateboarding to experience another boom in popularity, and a huge cash injection into the sport providing the money does go back into skateboarding. Think about it. New Skate Parks popping up all over the place, improvements in skate parks, renovations, a massive cash flow invested into what we all love doing. Of course skate parks will become busier, but with increased demand and the possibility of nurturing the next Olympic Athletes, skate parks could become better and more numerous than ever before. Also, with skateboarding becoming more present in the public eye, local councils and communities may be more inclined to support us and our passion.


This offers skaters the opportunity to represent their country, and be recognised worldwide for doing the one thing they love which unfortunately, very rarely becomes a

career based purely on the physical act of skateboarding. This also places us on a level

playing field with other athletes. We’ve got the same amount of grit, commitment and

determination as any pro athlete of Olympic fame or otherwise! We head out every day and push ourselves to the limit, striving for progression. Every day, we ignore every fibre in our body that says “no more” and change those words to “just once more!” We break down the barriers in our minds and programme ourselves to achieve, and we don’t leave the park until we’ve done what we set out to do. Either that, or we get carried out. We deserve the same recognition as top athletes, because we are top athletes.


Another pro of the inclusion of skateboarding in the Olympics could be seen as something of a selfish one, but one which I hope would benefit many young skaters or

newcomers to the sport. As skateboarding has been inducted into the Olympics, we have to ask ourselves, “How do we get young people off on the right foot (or the left foot,

whichever way you push is fine by me)?” Young people can’t learn skateboarding in schools. There are also relatively few accredited and qualified Skateboard Schools in the UK. With the introduction into the Olympics, the demand for skateboard coaching will increase as more and more young people take up the sport. This is fantastic news not only for Skateboard Schools (and also coach educators such as ourselves), but also for your average, every day skater. Just imagine, you could make a solid career from teaching your own Skateboarding Sessions. You CAN get paid to skate and do what you love, without receiving a multi-million pound sponsorship deal! The increase in skateboard schools and coaches can act as a vital entry point into the sport for newcomers, some of whom may be too nervous or lack the self-esteem to take their board on to the park and take their first steps on a board. This controlled environment, free of intimidation, could help introduce so many more people to skateboarding. This entry point is incredibly important, and serves to coach the future Olympic Champions. Surely, introducing more young people to skateboarding can’t be a bad thing? The introduction of skateboarding to the Olympics could make it easier than ever before for young people to take up the sport. That’s what our Level 1 Award in Coaching Skateboard Sessions is all about. Getting young people on boards.



Anyway, that’s my two pence on Skateboarding in the Olympics. There’s pros and cons,

absolutely. But ultimately, this drastic change could benefit the next generation of skaters in a way we never thought possible. Skateboarding will always belong to skaters, and who knows, this new mainstream format could inspire a new underground movement, and a renaissance of the DIY ethic that got us to where we are today. Let’s see how it goes, and let’s hope for a GB Gold in 2020. Here’s a clip from the Street League Super Crown World Championship in Chicago, showcasing the current format for competitive skateboarding.






















Words by: Denham Hill

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