Skateboarding Goes for Gold

    • Skateboarding saw a resurgence during the pandemic as part of the move toward outdoor athletics.
    • The sport will be an Olympic event for the first time this summer.

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Skateboarding’s year on the rise will culminate in its inaugural appearance as an Olympic event.

Like golf and other outdoor sports, skateboarding has grown in popularity during the pandemic.

  • After a major dip in skate and surf equipment sales at the onset of the pandemic, the industry rebounded and posted 15% year-over-year growth last June.
  • California skate shops saw growth in demand last year but also grappled with supply chain issues related to the pandemic.
  • Pre-pandemic estimates predicted the skateboard market would grow 3.1% annually, reaching $2.4 billion by 2025.

The sport, long associated with counterculture, is finding mainstream acceptance, with cities stepping up to fund skate parks. New York City recently opened up two new parks and made major upgrades to two others.

Now the sport is gearing up for its first appearance in the Olympics. The games will feature men’s and women’s events on two types of courses: street and park terrain. Runs last for 45 seconds and will be judged on a number of difficulty and style metrics.

The courses will be based on ones created for Vans Park Series, a skating competition started in 2016. Nike is sponsoring the Olympic skateboarding federations from the U.S., Brazil, Japan, and France.

The skate parks used for the Tokyo games will also be open to the public so that hobbyists can see if they are Olympic-level material.