August 16, 2012
With the summer Olympics over and done with for another four years, it’s a good time to debate the inclusion of certain sports and not others in the Games.
Originally encompassing just nine sports, the Olympics, revived from Greek obscurity in 1896, has continued to modernise, with discontinued events such as the 60m dash, club swinging and tug-of-war falling by the wayside to leave the way open for newer, more relevant events.
With modern sports like beach volleyball enjoying Olympic status since 1996, isn’t it time to open the debate about other youth orientated sports and build on the spirit of inclusion and youth inspiration that was such a key theme of the 2012 Games?
It’s a point that skateboarding legend and Laureus Academy Member Tony Hawk has made, believing its inclusion is paramount for bringing in younger viewers and arguing that “the Olympics need skateboarding more than skateboarding needs the Olympics.” Pointing to what snowboarding has done for the winter Olympics, he believes skateboarding could do as much for the Summer Olympics.
With other urban sports which value skill over brute machismo, such as parkour, a French urban sport where participants move through their environment by rolling, leaping climbing and running, rapidly gaining in popularity, it’s surely time to give open the debate about giving youth sports fair representation, rather than relegating them to niche obscurity, particularly when, like skateboarding, they have stood the test of time.
Are there other urban sports that you would like to see represented at the Olympics? Are there any sports that you think have had their day?
Let us know your thoughts; after all, the Olympics as a movement is in constant flux. This summer the Games has gone from strength to strength, but as with the performances of the athletes, there’s always room for improvement.