More than 5,500 people identifying themselves as skateboarders from around the world have signed an online petition asking the International Olympic Committee not to add their sport to the Games.
Last month, organizers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics included skateboarding on a list of six sports they want to put on the program. The others were baseball, softball, surfing, karate and sport climbing.
“Skateboarding is not a ‘sport’ and we do not want skateboarding exploited and transformed to fit into the Olympic program,” the online petition states. “We feel that Olympic involvement will change the face of skateboarding and its individuality and freedoms forever.”
Under the proposal -- which must be approved by the IOC -- skateboarders would compete in “street” and “park” events.
Gary Ream, president of the International Skateboarding Federation, said he understood the concerns within his sport because skateboarding “is not all about competition; it’s also a lifestyle.” But he expressed confidence about creating a balance.
“We’re not going to satisfy everybody,” he said. “But we’re going to come close.”
There remains some confusion about how the sport would be administered because neither the ISF nor the World Skateboarding Federation is recognized by the IOC.
The WSF has previously said in a statement that it is “working with many national federations and government agencies around the world to provide leadership and guidance to ensure a very positive experience for all skateboarders and their fans at the Games.”
The Tokyo 2020 plan has generated a different sort of response from the squash officials, who have expressed anger that their sport was left off the list.
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