Japan has surprised and delighted the world with the inclusion of 5 new sports to the line in the 2020 Olympics (July 23rd to August 8th, 2021).
Skateboarding is one of these new sports.
A Bit of a Backstory
This sport is thought to have originated in California in the 1940’s by surfers who attached wheels to boards on the days when the surf wasn’t doing it for them.
Skateboards became commercially available in the 1950’s (TokyoOlympics.org).
Skateboarding has been and may still be considered a counterculture, a haven for misfit kids, backed by soundtracks of punk and rap.
Over the decades, like so many other anti-authority movements, skateboarding leaked into the mainstream. Skateboards are now considered a mode of transportation, an platform for art, a totem of defiance. We also see skateboarding style, fashion and culture everywhere on the internet, city streets and parks (Lee, NY Times).
Skateboarding has also featured in mainstream films, too adding to its growing culture.
There will be two distinct events for both men and women. They are Street and Park.
The “Street” event includes a manufactured assortment of rails, stairs and other city-like obstacles on which to perform tricks.
Competitors will be judged on factors such as the degree of difficulty of the tricks, height, speed, originality, execution and the composition of moves, in order to award an overall mark.
And “Park,” which is mostly a smooth bowl of mounds and banks including a series of complicated curves.
Judging will be based on the heights achieved, speed and mid-air tricks.
Tricks should include moves that are original and difficult with rotations, flips, balancing, grinds and slides.
Only 1 skater will be on the course at 1 time and will have 3, timed sessions to earn their score.
Australian Skateboarding Olympic Team 2020
Each continent can bring 12 athletes. Six men and six women, with a maximum of three members per event, park or street.
As far we can tell, the season for qualifications is still going and should be completed in May of this year.
Slam Skateboarding has posted their top contenders so far to include:
- Chris Middlebrook
- Shane O’Neill
- Hayley Wilson
- Poppy Starr Olsen
- Keegan Palmer (Palm Beach, Gold Coast)
- Nat Kassel
Strength Training for Skateboarders
We contacted the president from Skate Australia to learn what sort of performance enhancement training the Skateboarders representing Australia will undertake. We haven’t heard back from her but will update you when we find out.
In the meantime, Stewart Briggs had a bit of think about what he would do to prepare an Olympic Skateboarder.
“I would definitely work on a skater’s deep system and mobility ahead of strength and power.
Their events are judged based on how fast they skate, how high they can get into the air and the complexity of their tricks. This means a full body strength and power training program is needed to compliment their skills training program.
I think skaters would have a tendency to be one-sided from pushing off on their dominant side hundreds of times a day. Therefore, we would do a lot of single leg exercises with a focus on recalibrating their body by strengthening the non-dominant leg which will help to ensure long term health and performance.
I would say a skater’s skeleton would be out of alignment a lot of the time due to the one-sidedness of the sport along with falls and awkward landings. So, skaters would need to see a good physiotherapist to make sure their hips, shoulders and necks are in alignment.
Strength training is meant to help cement the body into position so it is important the body is in alignment and that the athlete has good posture before performing any heavy strength training exercises.
I’m looking forward to watching these athletes compete, because they are a real mix of skill and creativity.”
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Be sure to contact us if you are keen to get better at your sport. Who knows, maybe you’ll be Australia’s next Olympian!