For skateboarders at the Tokyo Games, their participation in these Olympics has been about respect. And what better way to earn it but by showing off the determination, courage and skills the sport requires.
In their Games’ debut, skateboarders have performed injury-defying moves sliding down railings, vaulting over steps and rolling down ramps at amazing speeds. What might best define skateboarders, however, is their persistence and resiliency, which also was on full display at the Games.
If there is one thing certain about skateboarding is that competitors will fall and fall hard. They may take a rail in the groin or smash a knee or elbow on the ground or on one of the concrete park course’s sharp corners.
And if there is one thing certain about skateboarders it’s that they will get up and try it again and again. Spills are so much part of the sport, learning how to fall is as important as learning a new trick.
“Skateboarding is all about falling,” World Champion skateboarder Ryan Sheckler tells The New York Times. “It’s key to everything. If you aren’t falling, you aren’t learning. You have to hit the ground to progress.”
Skaters have often been looked upon with scorn and a get off my lawn-type attitude from those who may not appreciate the sport’s danger and athleticism.
"As a kid that was mostly lambasted for my interest in skateboarding, I never imagined it would be part of the Olympic Games," Hawk wrote on Instagram just before the Opening Ceremony.
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The inaugural event marks a turning point for skateboarding, which has its roots in youth street culture and has influenced everything from art to fashion. It also has served as a showcase of the skills and dedication required to be one of the best skateboard athletes in the world.
Information from Reuters was used in this report.