There’s a famous saying in skateboarding that goes, “the only Olympics we need is the Bong Olympics, brah.” I believe the phrase was first coined by Tony Alva on the set of a “Police Academy” prequel and the “brah” might have really been a “bro.” Yet the point still stands. As these words are fumblingly typed out, world records are being broken, dreams realized and untold riches crammed into the overflowing piggybanks of the International Olympic Committee in Whistler, Canada, in part thanks to skateboarding’s redheaded stepchild, snowboarding. They also say that the road to Olympic gold is paved in gold, but as illustrated by the pixels above, it’s clear that reaching for those rings is perilous too.
There’s an interesting poll going right now over at Skatedaily.net that currently indicates about 60% of the literate skateboard website reading populace knows what skater Tonya Harding, skier Bode Miller and Polish pole vault jumper Władysław Kozakiewicz learned the hard way, which is to say that for free-thinking maverick types, it’s better to avoid the Olympic juggernaut altogether. Yet there remain those in the pro-skateboard realm as well as the business side (mostly the business side) for whom the allure of Olympic glory is only too seductive. It is they who look upon an event schedule already crowded up with badminton, archery and fast running and say “me too” in service of country and that catch-all greater good, “bringing skateboarding to more kids.” CCS check-out page meet Visa card, etc.
As entertaining as it is to dream up potential uniforms for the West Coast-weighted U.S. Skate Team*, and imagine the inner battles raging between inner demons and the certainty of across-the-board urinalysis, it would seem folly to pound this particular square peg into the Olympics’ gold-plated hole, if for no other reason than it would probably require the shaving-off of whatever edges remain. The yellow precious metal lured Captain Blackbeard to a watery grave, and even Curly proved that you can’t take it with you.
And beyond plunder, what would the big O bring to skateboarding beyond a healthy dose of good-natured jingoism and hours of painful narration? Remember the “harnie”? It is for this reason we can and should applaud every Mike V hockey stands brawl, every Antwuan Dixon face tattoo, every Lizard King Satan quotation and web-archived Ybor City drug arrest; they may ultimately be all that stands between us and the doom that lies in the comedown after all gold rushes, brahs.
*with all due respect to the halfcab/brown cord/white tee ensemble and the DC Euro Supertours