On Aug 3 the 129th General Assembly of the IOC approved the inclusion of skateboarding in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. This was the culmination of work that began more than 18 months ago, when the IOC first met with the all the International skateboard organizations: FIRS (Roller Sports International Federation), WSF (World Skateboarding Federation) and ISF (International Skateboarding Federation).
This meeting brought together Kit Mc Connell, and Christophe Dubi, respectively Sports Director and Executive Director within the IOC, Tony Hawk, Gary Ream (ISF president), Sabatino Aracu (FIRS president), Roberto Marotta (FIRS General Secretary), Tim McFerran (WSF president) and myself, Cyrille Harnay AKA Komakino, (WSF Board Director and IDF president). At the request of the IOC we refrained from publicising our role in the Olympics negotiations.
Negotiations over the structure of the organization in charge of skateboarding at the Tokyo Games (street and park only) are ongoing. I cannot go into the details of these negotiations, but what is at stake, in the medium term, is the governance of our sport; will we have a skateboard federation recognized by the IOC?
Currently only FIRS is recognized by the IOC and Sport Accord. The big question for us is whether they will represent all skateboarding disciplines (street, park, vert, slalom, long distance, dancing, freestyle, and downhill). The ISF is interested only in street and park, and appear to have no interest in other disciplines. For this reason the IDF have chosen to be involved with the WSF as they are more inclusive.
The IDF has always believed that the addition of skateboarding to the Olympics would bring more benefits than disadvantages to downhill skateboarding. It will help organizers get permits for the closure of roads, help national federations create and enable the training of qualified teachers, facilitate access to public funds, help media coverage of the "small disciplines" which Downhill is part of, and broaden the range of potential sponsors.
Downhill skateboarding perfectly matches the expectations of Olympics spectators - it's spectacular, easy to understand, and is not based on the whims of judges. However we must remain realistic; there is still a long way to go before downhill is included in the Olympics, and it will probably take 8, or maybe 12 years to make it happen, and only if Tokyo 2020 is a success. To make it happen we must continue our work now; we've already met two of the four candidates for hosting the 2024 Olympics: Paris and Los Angeles. The road is long, but aren’t we road specialists?