A petition has been set-up contesting the possible addition of skateboarding to the Olympics ©ISF

More than 5,000 people have so far signed a petition calling for "No Skateboarding in the Olympics" as battle-lines continue to be drawn following Tokyo 2020's decision to recommend the sport last month.

Both park and street events were proposed after a lengthy selection process over the summer, joining baseball and softball, karate, sport climbing and surfing.

More deliberations will now be made by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) here ahead of a final decision at next year's Session in Rio de Janeiro.

insidethegames understands skateboarding wields behind-the-scenes support from high-level figures within the IOC, who are keen to embrace an event so strongly associated with young people.

The decision has polarised the grass roots community of the sport, however, many of whom do not want the exposure that comes with the Olympics and still consider the X Games as the pinnacle of the sport. 

A petition against skateboarding in the Olympics has now been signed by over 5,000 people ©thepetitionsite.com
A petition against skateboarding in the Olympics has now been signed by more than 5,000 people ©thepetitionsite.com

"With due respect for Olympic Athletes, we the undersigned skateboarders and advocates strongly request that the IOC do not recognise skateboarding as an Olympic sport, or use skateboarding to market the Olympics," outlines the petition, addressed to IOC President Thomas Bach and accessible here

"Further, we ask that the IOC not recognise any individuals or groups claiming to be the IOC recognised governing body of skateboarding or provide funding to them. 

"Skateboarding is not a 'sport' and we do not want skateboarding exploited and transformed to fit into the Olympic programme.

"We feel that Olympic involvement will change the face of skateboarding and its individuality and freedoms forever.

"We feel it would not in any way support skateboarders or skateparks.

"We do not wish to be part of it and will not support the Olympics if skateboarding is added as an Olympic sport." 

Because neither the International Skateboarding Federation (ISF) nor the World Skateboarding Federation (WSF) are recognised by the IOC, the events were proposed within the bid of the International Roller Skating Federation (FIRS), although speed skating disciplines also put forward for Tokyo were rejected.

This has increased a feeling that control will be lost in a similar way to what, it is claimed, happened within snowboarding after it was amalgamated into the International Ski Federation in the 1990s.

Last week's WSF-organised Skateboarding World Championships in Kimberley has been seen as another way to widen the scope of the sport ©WSF
Last week's WSF-organised Skateboarding World Championships in Kimberley, South Africa, was seen seen as a way to widen the scope of the sport and help it achieve its ambition of becoming part of the Olympic programme ©WSF

WSF President Tim McFerran, a key player in organising the recently concluded World Skateboarding Championships held during the Kimberley Diamond Cup in South Africa, has contested many of the points raised and argued Olympic inclusion would benefit the sport.

"I think this petition is interesting because it seems to be a lot of US petitioners who may not be happy with the same guys competing in the same contests year after year," he told insidethegames.

"But I think the Olympics will be a tremendously positive boost for skateboarding around the world.

"Opening up the contests to allow skateboarders from around the world to compete provides an element of excitement that we perhaps don’t have in the log jam of US contests.  

"Getting more people involved in skateboarding and supporting youth who want to take up skateboarding is our passion.

"In countries outside the US there is virtually no private funding available for skateboarders or skate parks and skateboarding is being hindered by this lack of organisation, and sports who are organised are getting all of the Government funds.

"The Olympics will help get more skate parks built, get more kids involved in skateboarding and support the industry as a whole."

McFerran also disputed the claim that any unique individuality would be lost, pointing out snowboarding has hugely benefited from Olympic inclusion in terms of profile and participation, despite the perceived loss of identity.

The WSF, which has no national members, have shown more willingness to pragmatically help skateboarding's case in any way they can.

Meanwhile, the Gary Ream-led ISF, which organised the skateboarding exhibition during the Sports Lab at the Nanjing 2014 Summer Youth Olympics, claim they would only accept inclusion on their own terms.

If the sport is accepted, they are confident of persuading the IOC to allow them to oversee competition rather than the FIRS. 

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