Skateboarding has come a long way since “Dogtown Z-Boys” came out in the early naughties. Today, the sport has become increasingly mainstream, to the extent that it has won a place in the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. This is the first year that skateboarding will be part of the institution, but with no guarantees that it will earn a permanent place in the Games. However, in the meantime, some top skaters from all over the world will be competing at the events. These will which will be divided into street and park, with different competitions for men and women.
Special courses have been created for the event, in accordance with the specific style of skateboarding. A parkour-like course, designed to look like a street and featuring stairs, walls, benches, and slopes, will be used to demonstrate the skill of the skaters on factors like originality, height, and speed. On the other hand, the park events will use sophisticated skate park designs to maximize creativity on the board.
But the truly great thing to come from the new addition is the incredible array of athletes to come from the shadows. We’ve chosen some particularly special people to feature in preparation for the Games.
Nyjah Huston, today’s biggest star in contest skating, is by far the fan-favorite. An X Game regular, he has taken home a staggering eight gold medals. Huston is also a four-time champion of World Skate/Street League Skateboarding. At the young age of twenty, Huston is quite an accomplished young man, and nothing, not even a slew of injuries over the last couple years (including a fair few just from making his most recent video), will stop him from excelling at the games.
On the other side of the pond, local talent Kisa Nakamura is ready to see more women on the ramps. At age sixteen, she is the first woman from Japan to win a gold medal at the X Games. But crucially, her activism in the world of women’s skateboarding is truly what differentiates her from other candidates. She works hard to spread skate culture from the United States, where she says there are areas with skate parks every ten minutes. On a board since she was six years old, Nakamura is now an international symbol for women’s skateboarding.
Europe hasn’t yet shown its true colors when it comes to the local skateboarding talent, but Finnish-American skater Lizzie Armanto is ready to change that. But it’s her attitude towards skating and the Olympics that truly differentiates her from the pack. Even though she is prepared to compete in the Games, her first priority is to “keep skateboarding skateboarding, and not let it turn into something else.” She compares the new phenomenon to snowboarding, reminding the public in an interview with the Desiree Show that when it was poised to become an Olympic sport in 1998, the strongest snowboarders weren’t at all in support of the commercialization that was happening.
This generation of skaters is fighting many forces to get their talents into an even bigger spotlight, but the battle is nowhere near close to being over. The older generation is still fighting against skating’s status at a sport in the first place, but they are being proven very wrong. The 2020 Olympics are about to be made something special by the upcoming skaters. They will make history no matter the decision to keep the sport as part of the lineup.