Watching the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics has been highly entertaining thus far. The games remind us of the true meaning of sportsmanship and friendly competition. Last night, I almost got in a knife fight with an elderly Canadian woman talking trash aboot the American curling team’s lack of form. USA! USA! USA! All of these winter evens full of adrenaline junkies, speed freaks and fearless masochists made me realize how perfect longboarding would be as an Olympic sport.
So how does a sport become an Olympic event? Up until 1992, there would be demonstrations of potential Olympic Sports to gauge public interest. This is how ice shuffleboard aka curling became official. A sport or discipline is included in the Olympic program if the IOC determines that it is widely practiced around the world. That is, the number of countries that compete in a given sport is the indicator of the sport’s prevalence. However, to have countries competing n a sport prior to Olympic consideration, they need to have an international governing body, namely an International Federation. This sports governing body creates a common set of rules for the sports disciplines, organizes international competitions, and appeals to the IOC for acceptance.
There are a number of sports the IOC recognizes, which is an important step to becoming Olympic. Most of these recognized sports compete in the World Games. Neither skateboarding nor longboarding are part of these games. However, the IOC does recognize the International Roller Sports Federation. The FIRS includes inline hockey, speed skating, artistic roller skating, and the “emerging sports” inline downhill and freestyle skateboarding.
There are so many things wrong with this, I hardly know where to begin. Firstly, having any kind of skateboarding considered a “roller sport” and represented by the same group that promotes men dressed like matadors dancing on roller skates to “Who’s that Lady” is offensive. There is a time and place for that, and its Saturdays at noon in Central Park at 72nd street. And secondly, that these morons consider a sport that has 20 million and rising participants short and longboarding religiously “emerging” is absurd.
The first step is the creation of an International Longboard Federation. There is already hundreds of regional and national organizations set-up waiting to be a part of competition on the world stage. The Australian Skateboard Racing Association is renowned for their downhill, luge, slalom and freestyle tournaments. And we all know New York has developed the fine art of outlaw street racing, which along with sliding would make five excellent disciplines of longboarding that are highly entertaining for both spectators and participants alike.
With sports such as surfing and wakeboarding competing in the World Games, and BMX and snowboarding as Olympic events, longboarding is ready to explode onto the international scene. After Shaun White’s electrifying near perfect Gold medal performance in Vancouver, its time to make longboarding a Summer Olympic event. Longboarding is aggressive, fast, smooth, intense, and pretty damn fun. It’s time to rally the troops, and show the world how we roll (on a really long skateboard).