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Sales of Skateboard Equipment Affected by 2012 Olympics

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Adding the discipline of skateboarding to the Olympics has been a controversial topic over the last few years. It has finally become official that skateboarding, along with freestyle BMX, will replace both softball and baseball at the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games. Many wonder how this will affect skateboarding culture and skateboard equipment over the long run.

Before the decision to add skateboarding to the 2012 Olympics was announced, numerous petitions circulated the Internet. One such petition titled, “No Skateboarding in the Olympics!” is still open despite the decision having already been made. The creators and signers of this petition do not want skateboarding to become an Olympic sport, nor do they want skateboarding to be used as advertisement for the Olympic Games. The petition states, “Skateboarding is not a ‘sport’ and we do not want skateboarding exploited and transformed to fit into the Olympic program. We feel that Olympic involvement will change the face of skateboarding and its individuality and freedoms forever.” It also states that signers of this petition will not support the Olympics if skateboarding is indeed added as an Olympic sport. As of January 31, 2011, they have over 3,000 signatures.

Since the skateboard was first created sometime in the late 1940s or early ‘50s, it has steadily gained recognition among youth, but has also had sudden bursts in popularity. The first skateboards were surfers looking for a way to exercise their talents when waves weren’t available. At this time, the activity was known as “sidewalk surfing.”

In the 1970s, major developments in skateboard equipment came about again creating a resurgence in the popularity of skateboarding. This is when Frank Nasworthy developed wheels made of polyurethane, which created tremendous improvements in traction and performance. Now that skateboarders were given more to work with, many more people took notice and, as a result, skateboarding companies began sprouting up that continued to strive towards improving skateboarding technology. This was just the beginning of such improvements. Today, boards are far more versatile, allowing for speed and increased possibilities for tricks.

Skateboarders and skateboard companies alike wonder what the 2012 Olympics will do for the activity. Many skateboarders do not want their pastime to become a mainstream event, and do not believe that the Olympics will increase support for skateparks or skater freedom. At the same time, skateboard companies often sit on the opposite side of the fence in hopes that the Olympics will increase sales of skateboard equipment.

 

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Photos copyright by Jay Graham Photographer