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HomeSportOlympics-Youth must be served: skaters set to shred Paris parks and streets

Olympics-Youth must be served: skaters set to shred Paris parks and streets

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By Amy Tennery
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Skateboarding will have some of the youngest competitors at the Paris Olympics but it has already taught some of the more established sports a trick or two, earning a permanent place on the programme and giving the Games a much-needed makeover.

Skateboarding - along with surfing, its fellow Olympic newcomer in Tokyo - boosted the COVID-delayed Tokyo Games' viewership as brands scrambled to capture a share of the sport's youthful fan base.

The success of the sport at Tokyo in 2021 prompted the IOC to make skateboarding a “core sport” in the Olympic programme from Los Angeles 2028, with the Paris Games expected to give its popularity a massive boost in the European timezone.

“The quality of skateboarding, the talent level, the amount of people doing it across the globe at such a high level is remarkable,” said Jeff Landi, the head of skateboarding communication at governing body World Skate.

While some veterans of the sport, including skateboarding great Tony Hawk, had feared the Olympic spotlight could detract from its rebel street cred, the Tokyo Games succeeded in building a larger global community, said Landi.

“Particularly the growth of women skateboarding even from just the Games in Tokyo to now is phenomenal. And seeing the different faces come in ... it's just incredible.

“Obviously you can attribute that to skateboarding's involvement in the Games.”

The sport that burst into the mainstream some 30 years ago thanks to Gen X American counterculture has had no problem gliding into the 21st century, with the Olympic spotlight bringing in new faces.

Teen sensations like Australia's Ruby Trew and Britain's youngest medallist Sky Brown are expected to be among the names to watch at the Place de La Concorde venue.

“It's a demographic that everyone wants,” said Neftalie Williams, an assistant professor of sociology at San Diego State University whose academic work covers the culture of skateboarding.

“You want young people and that they're young, they're vibrant, they're innovative and they like to see themselves. And so of course that's great for ratings.”

Williams, who was the U.S. State Department's inaugural envoy for skateboarding, said the sport's designation as a future permanent Olympic discipline showed it had “gone global.”

“It's not that this is ... this American export that we've tried to give to everyone - it's that young people all over the globe have made skateboarding their home,” he said.

The skateboarding competition begins on July 27 and will feature men's and women's park and street events.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

Disclaimer: This report is auto generated from the Reuters news service. INDIANEXPOSE holds no responsibilty for its content.

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