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Skateboarding World in Disarray Despite New Olympic-Sport Status

10 Aug, 2016

By: Michael Popke

If the Rio Olympics haven’t already sparked enough controversy for you, let’s take a quick look at one of the issues already ramping up in advance of the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Two days before skateboarding was one of five sports officially named to the Olympics medal program for 2020 — along with karate, surfing, sport climbing and the return of baseball/softball — the World Skateboarding Federation filed a lawsuit in a California court against the International Skateboarding Federation that alleged rampant doping among ISF skateboarders. 

Both the WSF and the ISF sought recognition from the International Olympic Committee to oversee the sport, but when skateboarding became an official Olympic sport, Gary Ream, the controversial president of the ISF, emerged as chair of the new Tokyo 2020 Skateboarding Commission. The official governing body for new street and park events at the Olympics will be the International Roller Sports Federation (FIRS), led by Italian Sabatino Aracu.

“Significantly, this means the World Skateboarding Federation … has been cut out of the process after initially being involved in discussions,” Olympics news website, Inside The Games, reports. Part of the WSF lawsuit filed by federation chair Tim McFerran claimed, as the website states, “he was sidelined despite signing an agreement and investing both money and resources into preparations” for skateboarding to become an Olympic sport.

Both Ream and the IOC have called the WSF lawsuit “groundless.”

Gee, for a sport that encourages a friendly vibe and positive culture, negativity in the international skateboarding community seems to be picking up speed.

Meanwhile, a company in Mountain View, Calif., is looking to take electric skateboards to the next level — at a maximum speed of 22 miles per hour. Just a suspicion that those will be banned from Olympic competition…

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