Skateboarding and surfing?This is not the Olympics for your grandparents

Skateboarding and surfing?This is not the Olympics for your grandparents



When the street skateboarding competition starts on Sunday, the 7,000 seats in Tokyo’s Ariake City Sports Park will be empty, but the organizers hope that a large number of fans will watch the report, and this new Olympic sport will help make the Olympics and a younger population.

Skateboarding began to appear on the streets in the 1950s, and this year it is on the stage of the Olympic Games with other new sports such as surfing, sports climbing and karate.

“I’m really happy to be here,” said Letícia Bufoni, a 28-year-old skateboarder from São Paulo, Brazil, who is considered one of the hottest candidates to win medals in street competitions.

The event will be held in a temporary venue built for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. It features a track with handrails, curbs and slopes, where skaters perform skills and are evaluated by judges based on difficulty and style.

In an interview with CBC News after receiving a training session under the scorching sun on Wednesday, Buffoni said that it was great to be in Tokyo because she never thought she would become an Olympian.

“For skateboarding, it will be huge, and it will be the same for the Olympics,” she said.

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Promote young audiences

When the International Olympic Committee announced the addition of five sports to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in August 2016, the President stated that this was an effort to “bring sports to young people.”

“Young people have many choices, and we can no longer expect them to come to us automatically. We have to find them,” Thomasbach said at the time.

Skateboarding is a new project for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Learn about the sport. 3:19

An expert said that the International Olympic Committee hopes that so-called “extreme sports” can attract young audiences as the loyal Olympic audience ages.

Belinda Wheaton, Professor, University of Waikato, New Zealand Research topic for many years. She said that research shows that in North America, which has the largest number of Olympic TV viewers, the age of viewers is gradually increasing.

Wheaton said that during the last Rio Summer Olympics, the average age of American spectators was 53 years old. Compared with the 2012 London Olympics, the number of spectators in the 18-34 age group has dropped by 30%.

“The person watching is an older male,” she said. “They are really worried about this because obviously they need young people to stay relevant.”

No audience

According to the International Olympic Committee, 73% of its revenue comes from broadcasting rights, and Wheaton said that this model only works when people are watching.

In Tokyo, the organizers hope to create an interactive fan experience around most new sports and projects, including 3×3 basketball, where the game is played at half-court and lasts up to 10 minutes.

But the pandemic and the ban on viewers have cancelled these plans.

Wheaton said that the ultimate goal is to let people watch on TV, especially online.

“[These sports] There are a lot of followers from their fans,” Wheaton said. “They are very friendly to the media. They have a lot of sponsorships and advertisements, and the IOC is very clear. “

Snowboard debut

She said that the organizers are happy to repeat the success of snowboarding, which will help revive the Winter Olympics.

It was added during the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, although Oppose From some of the best snowboarders in the world, they think that the Olympic movement is too corporate and capitalist.

In 2015, Wheaton conducted a survey of more than 900 athletes participating in extreme sports. She said that they have different views on the Olympic movement. Some people think that the Olympics will not be the pinnacle of sports such as skateboarding and surfing, but others think it is an opportunity to increase interest.

Look to the future

Although officials will assess the popularity of these new sports for Olympic spectators, there are already new sports for the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics.

These Olympics will feature kite surfing and break dancing (also known as break dancing), and discussions are under way to include parkour in the future Olympics.


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