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How Skateboarders Are Breaking Barriers at This Years’s Olympics

After a year-long delay, the 2020 Summer Games have arrived with a few additions making their debut as official Olympic sports, including skateboarding. The popular, countercultural sport marks a tremendous cultural shift in the Games, giving the female skate community the spotlight they deserve. To celebrate this milestone for fans around the world, we spoke with three Canadian skaters that are paving the way for the future of the sport. Here, they reveal how it feels to have skateboarding recognized on the world’s largest stage, as well as their hopes and aspirations for the next generation of female athletes. 

Annie Guglia

Annie Guglia
Photography by Kelly Jacobs 

“To me, the social acceptance of skateboarding is the most positive thing about its inclusion in the Olympics. Skateboarding is becoming more mainstream, which some people will say is a bad thing for the subculture, but I’ve never seen that many girls on skateboards, that many kids who want to learn, or many skateparks being built. The commercialization of skateboarding also means more funding for athletes, equal opportunities for men and women, more inclusivity and diversity in our community, which is what I believe skateboarding was lacking for a long time.

Skateboarding has been my passion for almost 20 years, I love it so much, I just want to see as many people do it and succeed as possible, and I think the Olympics is helping that.”

Maddy Balt

Maddy Balt
Photography by Finn O’hara

“The fact that skateboarding is going to be showcased on a global stage is incredible. I think that it’s going to get a lot of people excited about the sport and I’m hoping that results in more people wanting to pick up a deck or get involved with the community. I’m so grateful for skateboarding and the community that it comes with, it’s something everyone should have the opportunity to experience.”

Sophie Grant

Sophie Grant

“Skateboarding being recognized on such a global platform like the Olympic stage is just such a cool feeling, to say the least. It really came as a surprise for most skaters, but skateboarding is finally being acknowledged the way it should be—this definitely hypes me up for the future. It’s becoming more and more appealing to people, especially since it’s an artistic activity you could do on your own, independently, and really shape your own way, be your own person and express yourself.”