(ATR) Three skateboarding federations welcomed the news of their sport being nominated with four others to join the program for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The World Skateboarding Federation (WSF), International Skateboarding Federation (ISF) and International Federation of Roller Sports (FIRS) now wait to learn which will have the opportunity to control the direction of skateboarding at the Olympics.
FIRS was the federation chosen to present to the additional sports program panel for Tokyo 2020 on August 7 to make the sport’s case for inclusion in the Games. However, it is unclear if it will be the federation in charge leading up to the Games.
The roller sports federation is headquartered in Rome, Italy and is the governing body for roller sport disciplines including skateboarding, inline hockey, speed skating and artistic roller skating. The FIRS consists of nearly 100 national federations and is the oldest of the three organizations, established in 1924.
The ISF came 80 years later, founded in 2004 and is devoted only to the sport of skateboarding. The federation has 27 member countries and is working towards approving more. The WSF says it represent 90 countries and nearly 4,000 members.
The IOC will decide between the three federations at a later date, possibly after the list of additional sports is finalized by the IOC next August. The ISF says it has been in contact with the IOC regarding which federation will manage the sport at the Games.
“The ISF and the skateboarding community are ready, equipped and well positioned to help make the first Olympic appearance of skateboarding an amazing one for skaters and fans alike,” ISF president Gary Ream said in a statement.
Ream says the Olympic dream for skateboarding federations began recently at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, an event where the ISF prepared the infrastructure for the Sports Lab and created the skateboarding sessions. The ISF also staged two Street and Vertical exhibitions each day of the event.
“Today’s announcement by Tokyo 2020 marks an important milestone in skateboarding’s short Olympic history which started with a first Olympic experience at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing in summer 2014,” he said.
Before Tokyo 2020 announced to the public the five sports to be included for consideration by the IOC – baseball and softball, surfing, sport climbing, karate and skateboarding – FIRS says Tokyo 2020 revealed the news in a letter addressed to president Sabatino Aracu.
“We know that the path is still long but we are confident that with our efforts the FIRS will bring great added value to Tokyo 2020 both in terms of youth participation and in terms of sponsors and media coverage,” said Aracu.
The WSF says it has been instrumental in helping the sport make it this far in the selection process.
“WSF has been active around the world promoting and organizing skateboarding and highlighting the positives that skateboarding brings to communities. We have had constant contact and very positive conversations with members of the IOC about how skateboarding can have a positive impact on the 2020 Olympic games and the youth of the world and are extremely grateful to be invited to take part in this process,” said WSF president Tim McFerran.
McFerran adds that this news can only benefit the skateboarding world championships set to take place next week in Kimberley, South Africa; an event that in the future could likely be used to determine qualifications for the Games in 2020.
“I am pleased that this news comes out just prior to the Skateboarding World Championships (7-10 October), where the best skateboarders in the world will compete for the largest prize purse in skateboarding. Many of these competitors will likely represent their countries in the 2020 Olympics if it gets voted in by the IOC and WSF is proud to have played a role in the process,” he said.
The proposed events for Tokyo 2020 are Street and Park for both men and women competitors. The sport will feature a quota of 80 athletes with an equal gender split.
The IOC will make their final decision on which sports will be added to the program at the 129th IOC Session in Rio de Janeiro in August of 2016.
Written by Kevin Nutley
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