Skateboarding and Surfing Make Mark on Olympic Stage
After years and years of incredibly hard work from lots of industry players, skateboarding and surfing finally made their debut in the Olympics.
We now have medalists in both sports, which were exposed to a worldwide, mainstream audience. Carissa Moore and Italo Ferreira took home gold in surfing, and Yuto Horigome and Momiji Nishiya did the same in street skateboarding, which is huge for Japan.
The breakout stars in both sports so far seem to be the 13-year-old girls who won gold and silver medals in the skate competition.
Nishiya of Japan and Rayssa Leal of Brazil captured the hearts of many around the world, and at least in the U.S., the skateboarding competition received more prime time coverage on major television networks.
Skateboarding also has another event that starts next week, the park competition.
The success of the young skate girls comes at an interesting moment for skateboarding, which has seen a surge in participation before the games, especially among females. Surfing, of course, has also experienced a boom during the pandemic and could get a further boost from the increased exposure during the games.
Unfortunately, industry brands that sponsor the Olympic athletes and medalists are very limited in how they can promote their wins because of strict Olympic rules designed to protect paying sponsors of the Games.
Nike SB is the big winner so far in taking advantage of the moment in a way that observes the rules. They posted a video on Instagram that celebrates Rayssa Leal, who first came to the attention of the skate world when Tony Hawk shared a video of her landing a trick wearing a fairy costume. With her success at the games, that original video has gone viral once again and she may become the biggest breakout start of all.
The Nike SB video, which was obviously ready to go before the Olympics, incorporates the fairy theme while showing Rayssa skating around the city.
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Overall, it will be interesting to see how the exposure at the Olympics impacts surfing and skateboarding in the future.