The skateboard competitions have just started. They will deliver the first tickets to participate in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Pauliana Laffabrier, Vincent Matheron, Aurélien Giraud or Robin Bolian hope to appear in the tricolor selection. To be assured of winning the famous sesame, they will have to enter the top 16 of «Global ranking», the world ranking – in the limit of three athletes per country – or to make a place on the podium at the next Worlds, the World Skateboarding Championships, organized from 1st January 2019 to May 31, 2020.

The Paris 2024 Games make their urban revolution

For the summer of 2020, 40 women and 40 men will challenge, for the first time in the history of the discipline, Olympic concrete. Four skaters – two women and two men – will be crowned Olympic champions in two disciplines strongly dominated by the Americans, the Japanese or the Brazilians: the "street", which uses street furniture (steps, rails, etc.) to the obstacles, and the "field park" – the equivalent of the "bowl", a curved equipment that looks like a swimming pool – more airy and faster (read opposite).

A culture associated with underground movements

Skateboarding appeared in the 1940s on an idea of ​​surfers: set wheels on boards to mimic the practice of surfing. Since the 1970s, it has attracted a considerable number of new followers in search of this breath of freedom ". The skateboard community is therefore fiercely opposed to the entry of this discipline into the big leagues, preferring to stay in the shadow of the skateparks.

This is the case of Sam Partaix, 32-year-old professional skater: "At birth, the Olympics carried noble values, symbols of openness. Today, it is a gigantic business that seeks to renew itself by attracting new disciplines such as BMX, breakdance or skate, with a younger audience to meet the requirements of advertisers. " Sam claims the spirit independent and free » skating, which flourished "Without subsidies, with brand money" and open to all, "Without prejudices, whatever his social class".

Not so simple, climb climbing to the summit

With its aesthetic and very urban codes, the skate culture, finely observed by the American director Larry Clark, is associated with the underground movements. They voluntarily live their passion in the margins, enacting their own rules, changing aesthetics at the whim of inspiration and fashion.

A spirit of freedom

"For many of us, skateboarding is when you want, where you want and with whom you want," explains Jean-Baptiste Rouxel, 22 years old. Seller at La Bonne Planchette, a specialty shop in Tours (Indre-et-Loire), this enthusiast fears that his discipline "Standardizes and freezes" because of the overly rigorous evaluation criteria established for competitions such as the Olympics.

"The world of skateboarding is separated between the sports school and the streeters, whose approach is more creative. They are the ones we admire in the street. His followers (also called "cores", Ed) do not need teachers, juries. Carried by a spirit of freedom, we evaluate ourselves, between friends. This has contributed to the democratization of this sport. "

Raphael, a client, makes his entrance. This 18 year old high school student also passionate about urban gliding does not feel "Concerned" by the Olympics. "And it's not tomorrow that will change," he said, shrugging his shoulders. Sensitive to ecological and social issues, Jean-Baptiste Rouxel will not turn on his television set in July 2020, "Mainly for ethical reasons".

The environmental impact of the Games, often denounced by the associations and the populations themselves, disturbs him " over all ". The prospect of imagining a skater parade with the French delegation in Tokyo with a blue-white-red jersey or proudly wearing a flag reinforces a little more criticism. Sam Partaix sees a situation "Almost unnatural, in any case very bizarre", who has not finished animating the debate in the world of skateboarding.

JO user manual

Two days of trials in Tokyo. A qualifying phase putting on the starting line twenty
participants will precede the final
with the best eight.

►On the "field park", it will be a question of evaluating the performances of each "rider" during a "run" – a free course –
45 seconds (with 4 tries). The best performance will be retained for the final ranking.

►In the "street" category, the event will be divided into two parts: two 45-second runs, then five "best tricks" (figures), where the athlete will have to illustrate himself by making a figure on an obstacle
Of his choice.

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