Tokyo Olympics ramp things up by adding Skateboarding

Skateboarding will make its long-awaited debut at the Olympics this summer
Updated: Jul. 20, 2021 at 10:00 PM CDT
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PORTAGE, Wis. (WMTV) -Skateboarding is one of four sports that will debut at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games. It’s a sport that sprang up in the 1970′s in California and has seen a meteoric rise in popularity in the last 20 years or so.

Skaters like Tony Hawk and his unbelievably popular video game “Tony Hawk Pro Skater” help push the sport into the mainstream. But the sport and its athletes always remained on the periphery of the American sports world.

But now, the sport is going worldwide by officially being a part of the Olympic games.

“I personally was jumping for joy,” said Kyle Littler when he heard skateboarding would be in Tokyo. Little is the president of the Portage Family Skate Park Project. He helped get a skate park built at Goodyear Park in Potage back in 2016. In 2020, they expanded the park. They are hoping to raise more money to expand it even further.

“The children need it. They need a facility like a football field or a baseball field,” said Little.

Little says now that skateboarding is in the Olympics, this “fringe” sport – as it is often seen -- now has plenty of legitimacy.

“We stand out a little bit more because of the way we dress or sound or even the sport we love. But now being an Olympian gives us a new label in a sense,” said Little.

He believes the move now allows young skaters to dream big.

“You can become that athlete, that Olympian, so yeah we’ve gone from “misfits” and we may never get away from that but now we are called Olympians,” said Little.

There will be two disciplines featured in the Olympics: street and park. Street skateboarding will feature obstacles like rails and stairs to recreate the skate style in a city environment. Park skating is featuring ramps and half-pipes. Each skater will get several runs and will be judged on those runs.

Now that skateboarding is in the Olympics, Little says young people in Portage can work toward that goal of getting the gold.

“Practice every day and don’t give up,” said Little. “You’re going to take some falls, but the biggest thing is to get back up. That is what an Olympian is to me,”

If you like to donate to the Portage Family Skate Park to help them expand, visit their website here.

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