For those hoping that skateboarding or even inline, for that matter, would soon be an Olympic sport, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has punted it in favor the recent short-listed sports, wrestling, baseball/softball, and squash.
Last week, in a statement that declares who’s going to make the cut for the IOC Session vote in Buenos Aires September 7-10, 2013, these 3 sports were back on the radar. When they cut wrestling and baseball and softball last year, there was a huge uproar among those sporting industries and fans, bringing on the criticism that whomever is making the decisions for which sports to be included (Executive Board) in the Olympics, just doesn’t get it.
As we’ve reported over the years, the irony of the Olympics is that they are out of touch with today’s reality, in particular with youth culture. Even their Youth Games are out of touch with youth culture. Yet they proclaim that “In an effort to ensure the Olympic Games remain relevant … the Commission uses 39 criteria in determining a sport’s suitability for the Olympic Games, including youth appeal, universality, popularity, good governance, respect for athletes and respect for the Olympic values.”
Youth appeal is always at the top, they say, of their radar, and yet the Olympics continues to be less valued and watched by youth culture year after year (see also our research Youth Culture TV and sports viewing preferences).
One sport that spikes in youth popularity within the Olympics is snowboarding, especially with double-gold medalist Shaun White at the helm. The other sport that obviously makes sense to include therefore, would be skateboarding—which is often dominated by Shaun White as well. However after their recent announcement, it just got punted with five other sports to the back burner, including karate, sport climbing, wakeboarding, and wushu.
The other irony is that the IOC actually doesn’t call skateboarding “skateboarding,” but rather clouds it under the misnomer umbrella of “roller sports.” Similar to how snowboarding was shrouded under skiing despite them being such completely different beasts.
In September, one of the final 3 sports will be added back to the Olympic Games, but not until 2020. Yes, 7 years from now.
According to IOC President Jacques Rogge, “The Executive Board received excellent presentations today from eight International Federations. It was never going to be an easy decision but I feel my colleagues on the Board made a good decision in selecting baseball/softball, squash and wrestling to be put forward in Buenos Aires. I wish the three shortlisted sports the best of luck in the run-up to the vote in September and would like to thank the other sports for their hard work and dedication.”
FYI, golf and rugby sevens were added as additional sports and will be a part of the 2016 Olympic program.