New friends, put to the test: skateboarding at Tokyo 2020 Part 1

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For skateboarding, a sport where the No. 1 rule is that there are no rules, the straitjacket of the Olympic Games, with its dense thickets of tradition and regulation, may not be a natural or immediate fit. So at the Tokyo Games, freewheelin’ skaters and Olympic officials are going to learn a lot about each other. Could be quite a ride. Both have plenty to gain from making a splash with their brand-new partnership. Skating is one of four debut Olympic sports, along with karate, surfing and sport climbing. The spectacle of skaters turning their boards into flying machines, soaring over obstacles, will deliver a rejuvenating injection of youthful energy to the dowdy sporting extravaganza. The youngest, Japan’s Kokona Hiraki and Britain’s Sky Brown, are just 12. With skateboarding’s street fashions and “all are welcome” inclusive culture of all genders, ages and abilities having fun together, officials anticipate that the sport will help snag future generations of Olympic fans and viewers that the International Olympic Committee needs to keep making megabucks from the games. For skaters, the powerful Olympic spotlight means global visibility, which may bring better prospects of earning a living from riding and sponsorships. Skaters also hope the Olympic seal of approval will mean more funding for skate parks and bowls in which to train, land and invent their tricks. Some skaters fret that Olympic codification will come at a cost for the freedom, spontaneity and soul of a sport that was born on the streets. They argue that skating is a whole lifestyle, and worry it will be crimped and compromised by being co-opted. There were similar misgivings among snowboarders — before snowboarding went on to become one of the most riotous and popular shows at the Winter Olympics. (AP) To be continued… This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

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