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Skateboarding News

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Is skateboarding bound to be the next global mass sport?

A phenomenal explosion... Who would have guessed then...
The first Betty on a board in 1965...
Just days before the new X-games 17 take place in Los Angeles, ESPN announced a significant milestone in its long-term plans to expand the X Games on a global basis. Beginning in 2013, ESPN will produce six world-class X Games events around the world - two in the U.S. and four outside the U.S.

ESPN will conduct a formal bid process to determine the three new X Games host cities, which will join the current events in Los Angeles, Aspen and Tignes, France (where ESPN is partnered with Canal+). Cities will be selected in 2012 for a three-year agreement and will work with ESPN to produce the events. A country like France has a growing number of skateboarders, surfers and skaters and is well equipped to handle snowboarding and surfing contests of the highest levels. Skateboarding is also growing professionally in France with the opening of many skate parks and contests everywhere.

The top priority of the X Games will continue to be to spotlight the world's best action sports athletes in BMX, Skateboard, Moto X, and Rally Car Racing at the X Games; and Skiing, Snowboard and Snowmobile at the Winter X Games.

Each X Games event will take on its own distinguishing character that will set it apart from the others, including the introduction of new sports and cultural elements based on the locations themselves.

"We are incredibly excited to take the X Games to the next level," said Scott Guglielmino, senior vice president, programming and Global X Games. "While we have produced events under the X Games banner outside the U.S. for many years, these four new X Games events will be of the same size and stature as the Los Angeles and Aspen events."

Tony Hawk, an integral part of the X Games said, "It has been incredible to see the X Games grow from its relatively underground inception in 1995, to a thriving global competition circuit today. Our sports have benefited greatly from the positive exposure over the years, and I am proud to have watched it all evolve since the beginning."

This expansion will be the first of its kind for the franchise in terms of size, scope and scale, but since 1998 the X Games has successfully organized smaller events, qualifiers and demonstrations in Brazil, Canada, China, France, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, Philippines and Dubai.

The most recent X Games and Winter X Games each set attendance records, pushing all-time attendance to more than two million spectators. The amazing growth of skateparks across the world coupled with the success of other events like the Dew Tour, the Maloof Money Cup, the explosive growth of the Street League and the World Skateboard Cup Bowl contests have not only pushed the X Games to grow, but also helped to push skateboarding further into the mainstream.

A “sport” that was developed in California 40 years ago by bored barefoot surfers and that endured so many bad press, bumps, crashes and near death during its short life is finally bound to be the biggest sport of the next decade. Without any doubt, 2011 will mark the year when skateboarding stops to be a lifestyle for a happy few and punk-rockers and enters into the realm of a mass sport by itself. For decades, we were pariahs along the way, we were thrown away from plaza, they destroyed our skateparks, they portrayed us as bad boys destroying and shredding the smooth concrete but as brothers, they did not destroy our soul. We have worked so hard to be able to have skateboarding recognized and now that it’s a done deal, we are so sad to have our little secret escape our hands and shared by millions of people worldwide. Our baby is a grown up.

Let’s not be surprised to see skateboarding at the Olympics soon.

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posted by Xavier Lannes @ Tuesday, July 26, 2011 


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