Skateboarding has come a long way from being just a hobby for rebellious teenagers. It has become a million-dollar industry with an enormous global following. Skateboarding is now an accepted element of pop culture, influencing fashion, music, and art.
However, this sport that was once considered counterculture is now part of the Olympic Games. Skateboarding was supposed to make its Olympic debut in 2020, but due to the global pandemic, the games were postponed to 2021, causing controversy over whether skateboarding truly belongs in the Olympics.
The Early Days of Skateboarding in Pop Culture
Skateboarding began in the 1940s and 50s as a pastime for surfers. They would use wooden boxes with roller-skate wheels attached to the bottom, better known as “sidewalk surfboards,” to surf the streets. It wasn’t until 1959 that the first skateboard was available commercially.
In the 1970s, skateboarding became a cultural phenomenon as it bridged the gap between surf and punk rock culture. Local parks began to install skate facilities in their recreation areas, and skateboarding rose in popularity.
As skateboarding became more mainstream, it also began to influence fashion and music. Skater style with Vans shoes, ripped jeans, and oversized t-shirts became a fashion trend copied by teenagers worldwide. Additionally, punk rock music, which had a close association with skate culture, began to have an impact on popular music.
The Rise of Competitive Skateboarding
Competitive skateboarding became popular in the 1980s with the establishment of several independent skateboard associations. The first professional skateboarding competition was the Hester Series in 1977. The first street skateboarding competition was the Oceanside Nationals in 1983.
The creation of the X-Games in 1995 brought more attention to skateboarding competitions, and they became an essential part of professional skateboarding. With prize pools ranging from $100,000 to $1 million, skateboarding competitions now attract high-level athletes from around the world.
The Controversy Surrounding Skateboarding’s Inclusion in the Olympics
The news of skateboarding’s inclusion in the Olympics in 2020 brought mixed reactions from the skateboarding community. Many skateboarders feared it would lead to a loss of the sport’s identity, as skateboarding is an anti-establishment sport.
Skateboarding has always been about expressing oneself, doing what feels right, and being out of the mainstream, which is contradictory to the Olympic ethos. Skateboarding is associated with an outsider culture that often clashes with the Olympics’ corporate image.
Others believed that the Olympics would give skateboarding an even greater platform to showcase itself and its athletes. Fans have argued that skateboarding deserves the recognition it would receive in the Olympics, as it is a sport that requires athleticism and experience.
Skateboarding has evolved from being a simple pastime for surfers. Its influence on pop culture has made it a fashionable and popular sport, and its inclusion in the Olympics has sparked controversial conversations in the skateboarding community.
Whether skateboarding belongs in the Olympics or not is up for debate. However, the sport will always be an essential part of pop culture, influencing fashion, music, and art. Skateboarders should continue to express themselves and challenge the mainstream, regardless of its inclusion in the Olympics.
As the sport continues to advance, we can all appreciate the journey it has had and the impact it has had on our culture. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for skateboarding.
So, do you think skateboarding should be in the Olympics, or is it better left as an underground, anti-establishment sport? Let us know in the comments!