Over the years, skateboarding has become increasingly popular, with the sport making its first Olympic appearance in Toyko, Japan.
In the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, skateboarding was offered to both men and women for both street and park events. Twenty-five National Olympic Committees were represented.
Race doesn’t matter in skateboarding. Skateboarders are a very diverse group of people. The age diversity of skateboarding is unmatched. If you go to a skatepark and take a random sample of the people skating, you’ll likely gather a very diverse crowd in age and background.
For example, the demographic of Olympic skateboarders ranged from 13-year-old Sky Brown (U.K.) to 46-year-old Dallas Oberhozer (South Africa). Skateboarding icon Tony Hawk is in his fifties and still going strong. Hawk heavily contributed to the popularization of skateboarding.
According to a University of Michigan article on skateboarding:
Although mainstream culture has managed to paint skateboarders as an aggressive, highly competitive group of adrenaline junkies or as slackers and stoners, skaters are far more passionate about the value their culture places on freedom, individuality, and self-expression. That is to say, skateboarders imagine skate culture as a location of difference, an alternative to dominant demands that adolescent boys, as exemplified by ‘jocks,’ should overvalue competition, physical dominance, and emotional repression. For skaters, the culture’s esteem for freedom and individuality seems to be an alternative to mainstream adolescent culture and an opportunity for various expressions of masculinity.”Skate Life: Re-Imagining White Masculinity.
JUDGEMENT-FREE AND WELCOMING
Skateboarding is judgement-free and the environment is uniquely welcoming. All one needs is some skate shoes and a skateboard. Although the sport may seem intimidating, all skateboarders can agree that they want one other to improve at it and will support them in doing so. No previous skill is required and there isn’t much ‘training’ one necessarily needs to do. Improvement will come with time and practice.
I skateboard myself. I used to skateboard every day and talk about it all the time. I remember following Hoopla Skateboards on Instagram, a skateboard company that sponsored many famous female skateboarders and encouraged women to skate. Names I remember from back then were Lizzy Armanto who competed in the Olympics.
In some big U.S. cities, including Minneapolis, Minn., Philadelphia, Penn. and Portland, Ore. there are huge free skateparks right near the city for anyone to use. This is an extremely inclusive sport as most facilities are open to the public. Some cities and towns have public skateparks. Anyone is welcome to use those parks allowing whoever is interested to participate.