The Ring Thing

Rings n’ things

As these words are fumblingly typed out, world records are being broken, dreams realized and untold riches springing forth from the International Olympic Committee’s Winter Games in Whistler, Canada, in part thanks to skateboarding’s stylistic 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 that currently indicates about 60% of the literate skateboard website reading populace is convinced that for a pursuit whose identity long has been coloured in misfit/outcast tones, it may be 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, 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 battles raging between inner demons and the certainty of across-the-board urinalysis, it may seem ill-advised to pound this particular square peg into the Olympics’ gold-plated round hole, if for no other reason than it would probably require the shaving-off of whatever edges still remain. The yellow precious metal lured Captain Blackbeard to a watery grave, and even Curly proved that you can’t take it with you. Beyond plunder, what would the big O bring to skateboarding beyond a healthy dose of good-natured nationalism and hours of strained narration? Remember the “harnie”?

*with all due respect to the halfcab/brown cord/white tee ensemble and the DC Euro Supertours

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42 Responses to “The Ring Thing”

  1. theProgram Says:

    “in part thanks to skateboarding’s redheaded stepchild”

    my mind immediately went to shaun white, which isn’t far off from where the text went.

  2. theProgram Says:

    i’m sure that irony wasn’t merely coincidental.

  3. mdspb Says:

    “skateboarding’s redheaded stepchild”

    (in case anybody missed that).

  4. mdspb Says:

    oh, jinx.

    I’d actually be OK with Olympic skating if it was completely objective, basically straight jock events ie. highest ollie, highest air, 1000meter pushing race, urban giant slalom, etc.

    • tim Says:

      i agree, because a backside 540 stupid grab flip might not be as hard to one person as another and style can never be truly given the points it deserves especially by a judge that doesn’t really understand it. case in point , tony hawk’s style is wack, but the dude rips, much like a clinchy fist rodney mullen.

  5. tim Says:

    after reading phillips interview on chromeball i somehow hate contests even more than i used to. like it’s been said, the olympics need skateboarding more than skateboarding needs the olympics. oh and those hours of awful commentating from someone that more than likely has never stood on a skateboard for more than a minute is soooo true. listening to the snowboard contest tonight was almost comical if not sad.

  6. KDP Says:

    Pilot Light’s text is continually some of the best skate-related writing on the internet.

    Really amazing stuff.
    Thank you.

  7. ... Says:

    Werd KDP, I think this is one of the best things I have ever read.

  8. ND Says:

    The difference between Skateboarding and Snowboarding in the Olympics is street. Vert skating in the Olympics will definitely just become a Shaun White spinning competition but that’s fine – who really passionately cares about competition vert any way? That’s been boring for about a decade now.

    However street skating can’t ever fall into a classic sport structure. That’s not some arty the-street-is-my-canvas-brah bullshit just that street skating by its definition can’t boil down to a holy grail spin trick for the judges as, unlike a half pipe, it’s unique to each rider how they hit the course.

    So, and this is blasphemous in many circles, I think Olympic street skating will be great. I love watching competition runs – especially from start to finish which you rarely get to see. It’s be great skatenerd TV.

    And Pro skating already is really competitive – it’s not like that’s something that is still to be corrupted. Olympic skateboarding and it’s subsequent boom in popularity won’t have any effect on the drunken 3 stair firecracker session a 1am with my friends. And legitimising the sport a bit might put a stop to the still tired diss of “a skateboard? isn’t that for 10 year olds?” anyone pushing 30 gets regularly.

  9. dedleg Says:

    Great article, dude. Keep skateboarding out of the fucking Olympics! I have and never will participate in a “sport” – fucking war games for kids. The Olympics is the epitome of conformity and falling in line. Proving that you’re the “best” at skateboarding is a pointless venture. For one thing, it’s far too subjective to judge properly and two, I can’t think of anything that would suck the fun and true heart of skateboarding out more quickly.

    Plus, while stripping it down to events that are purely objective (ie highest ollie, etc, as mdspb said) would make it easier to judge, it’d be fucking boring and a truly sad representation of skateboarding at that.

  10. smorales Says:

    The Berrics didn’t kill “the heart” of skateboarding, though it made it a little more embarrassing. I can see the Olympics being like the Berrics except on a much larger and more embarrassing scale. But at least it will be another thing to “cool guy” about…

    • Ross Cooper Says:

      I missed something… what did the berrics do to make skating embarrassing? And don’t say the canteen or unified. What did the *site* that brings legit core skate content to me every single day do to make skating embarrasing?

      • Seabreeze Says:

        It’s anything but ‘core’, sessions are booked literally weeks in advance, dudes do it because it’s good for their careers. I talked to one dude who filmed a part there recently and he said Guy and AVE were sitting there on the sidelines, in the dark of course, waiting for dude to finish filming so they could skate. That’s no fun at all and again, like the opposite of anything like real skating.

  11. Jeremy Says:

    I used to snowboard alot growing up. I started in the early 90’s when it was alot more similar to skating. Mountains had only recently opened their lifts to snowboarders and we were still generally looked upon with the same disdain that most skateboarders know all about. In 98 snowboarding became an Olympic Sport, and no one really thought at the time that it would affect anything. But in the 12 years since, snowboarding has completely changed from the outcast sport to what it is today. Snowboard parks are lined with coaches, and kids are getting “trained” to learn the winning trick from an early age.

    Basically FUCK THE OLYMPICS unless you want coaches at your local skatepark in 10 years.

  12. DKM Says:

    I would like to see a skateboarding event in the Olympics. Mandatory weight lifting and steroid abuse for a minumin of two years leading up to a no holds barred, gladiatorial style downhill race with weapons.

  13. clew Says:

    2016 Freestyle skating results

    Gold-C. Kennedy U.S.

    Silver-P. Rodriguez U.S.

    Bronze-L. Olivera Brazil

    Gee, I can’t wait…

  14. skateboardingpanama Says:

    skateboarding should be kept off the olympics, enough coorporations taking over our stuff…

  15. ND Says:

    Oh, the concept of skate coaches standing at skateparks has just made me decide to retract my entire previous comment.

    Fuck that.

  16. old man winter Says:

    the olympics need skateboarding more than skateboarding needs the olympics. said tim…

    we don’t need this shit. we don’t want it. 80% of true hearted skateboarders could give a fuck about the olympics. the dew tours huck jams and xgames are enough as it is.

    skateboarding is constantly evolving and influencing life outside of itsetlf that it makes sense to have skateboarding where it is today…in the middle of the public eye. but what makes skateboarding what it is, is that we don’t really care about anything else as much as skateboarding itself.

    when somethings or somebodys wack, like shawn white or jeremy rogers, we call it wack. we are not scared to catagorize something imediately when we think it sucks. shawn white is taking all the glory he can that comes with fame and dollars. hes a national hero right now. a gold medal winner that has tons of flair. most skateboarders think hes a total kook. and i think most of the people (if it happens) participating in the olympics for skateboarding will become totoal kooks.

    danny way brought the mega ramp to the x games. did he not? no one disses danny way ever. hes the man. he pays to play. he does rails treflips on street and can do fuckin rocket air flips over a 50 foot gap going 40 mph or more. so when it comes down to it. i think the will of the dollar is going to fill the pockets of a few people and they are going say yes to skateboarding in the olympics. its only a matter of time people. its stupid and i dont support it, but i fear thats its going to happen.

    we need to remember steve rocco people…wwsd?

  17. Jeremy Says:

    I’ll diss Danny Way. He hates gay people. That shit is wack.

  18. Tosh Says:

    This is a great write up. Good looks.

  19. old man winter Says:

    wether or not danny is a gay basher is not my point. he is someone that has brought skateboarding a mega ramp and is doing something that is questionable to the purity of skateboarding and no one questions it is my point. by saying hes the man is saying that most people think the dudes the man and support his ideas way more than shawn white. who has more mass appeal. but is less respected than danny way. its all semantics really. i just used him as an example. if i said anyone else there would be a conflict of interest with someone out there in internet chat room land. all in all the olympics are wack.

  20. Keith Says:

    Vert contests are so corny already… let them go to the Olympics.

    Leave the street rats out if it…

  21. theProgram Says:

    i’m backing skating in the olympics only if they replicate the events from “skate or die” for the nintendo. especially joust.

  22. Pablo diaz's old coke dealer Says:

    double mc twist

  23. Skatenerd 420 Says:

    I don’t think the Olympics “street style” course would be much different from what the Dew Tour and X Games gives people i.e. the ones who don’t skate and just watch it on T.V. (what skateboarder even follows it). There are dudes that are into the idea of winning competitions (which doesn’t represent a large % of your avg. day skaters anyways) and others who want extra money. I could see Sal Masekela and Tony Hawk brought out to commentate on the event. Yes I think it would be lame and wouldn’t watch, yes people would bank off skateboarders, but I don’t see how it would effect me or other skateboarders who don’t follow these circuits.

    On a side note there are places in my area(AZ) which act as mini training facilities to bread these competition prone mongrels whose parents are treating skateboarding as other sports; therefore the damage from these other events (Dew, X Games, etc.) is already done. Maybe the Olympics would increase this push from parents in this particular style which will inevitably make the owners or coaches money off skateboarding, but I also could see many of the kids involved in these types of things programs disembarking from these facilities on their own will.

  24. Laugh Olympics | The Skateboarder Blog Says:

    […] Pilot says, “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.” More, brah, at Boil The Ocean […]

  25. uberVU - social comments Says:

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by the_lip: boil the ocean – The Only Olympics We Need Is the Bong Olympics Brah –

  26. Rocuronium Says:

    Ever have a great day snowboarding? Skiing? How about a fun informal game of tennis with some friends, or pick-up basketball?

    I have and the fact that those “sports” were olympic didn’t affect our good times. If descendent of Shecky or some Brazilian kid went to the Olympics and performed a perfect ballet run, how would it affect your back-yard sesh?
    The skateparks will always be wack after-school or on saturday days. We’ll have to live with that.

  27. justin Says:

    The other side of the fence.

    “I read something Curtis Hsiang wrote about how there was this pool in Berkeley and it was dry only once every five years, and every time it was empty, that was the biggest thing. That’s insane. He didn’t say, “Blah blah blah did this trick there, or, “Blah blah blah did this trick.” It was the fact that you could only skate it for a week or two every five years, and it brought everybody together to skate. That’s what skateboarding was for him. It was his friends coming together to skate something that wasn’t around all the time. It’s not about who’s who in the X Games and who’s done the biggest kickflip down the biggest set of stairs. There’s always going to be somebody better; there’s always going to be somebody doing something bigger; that’s not what real skateboarding’s about. It’s about your friends and it’s about having fun.” – Louie Barletta

    “If skateboarding does make it to the Olympics, somebody had better use one of their runs in the medal round to pull off a homage to Neil Blender where they do a few tricks and then stop skating to draw on the ramps.” – The Vert Is Dead Guy.

    Those are the two thoughts that keep running through my mind.

    Since it was Friday I was out drinking. A bunch of my friends had watched the Olympics and were saying how impressed with Shawn White and snowboarding they were. At least one of them liked my Blender quote. I bit my tongue the whole time and politely nodded in agreement. I guess bitching about it on the internet will make me feel better and they will never see this, but the whole time I’m thinking snowboarding totally is ripping off skateboarding and that White is a total kook.

    With all the coverage snowboarding has gotten in the last week, I keep thinking what would happen if that was skateboarding. It would not ruin the fun of going skating with the friends, but it wouldn’t be right either. Well written, BTO.

  28. go go olympics Says:

    I can’t wait for the olympics to accept skateboarding then we can have more corporations starting board and shoe companies putting all of those lame brands out of business like lakai, traffic, vox, independent, anti hero, etc. wouldn’t it be great if we had more companies like world industries? I’m thinking wet willy can be his own brand, then flameboy, then the devil dude. get rid of all those lame ditch skaters like rowley and focus on what really matters, contest runs where we train the children as soon as they can walk and threaten their families lives if they don’t get a medal. i just can’t get enough of the commentators saying skate words like stoked, hyphy and switch tre down triple sets.

  29. Dunc Says:

    If I entered the olympics for skating I would win hands down for the good times over the past 20 + ,years and the amazing people I’ve met by sitting on curbs all over the world. I don’t care who’s the best…I don’t care about the latest moves…it’s about self progression and being inspired by others in more ways than one. The olympics snowboarding stuff made me laugh…double Mc Twist (aka the tomahawk) = ugly and lame. Keep skating in the gutter please…

  30. andy Says:

    Ive snowboarded since mid-nineties, its always been alot of fun. The olympics didnt change anything for me or any of my friends. Im positive to the Olympics because it makes it easier to be a snowboarder in countries where there are few riders. I live in Oslo (Norway) its and we dont have a indoor skatepark, if skateboarding was in the Olympics it would be easier to get stuff made. Its kinda hard to explain what you need when the people you try to explain it to dont have a visual image of how the sport looks.

  31. Liono Says:

    that world industries bong olympics looked pretty fun… the berrics should have satori movement (ipath?) united nations and revive the bong olympics proper!

  32. Seabreeze Says:

    My buddy had a Huf hat that had the Olympic rings on it, and to the left of the bottom two were the letters S and T and to the right were the letters P and S. That and the last paragraph here just about sum it up.

  33. smorales Says:

    that huf hat sounds rad.

  34. Theorizer Says:

    Seriously, can’t agree more. Hopefully these twats in skateboarding will never fail to keep the bar lower than rat testicles and continue to Jeff Gillooly our beloved “sport” out of the Olympics for eternity.

  35. Simon Painter Says:

    just a note: riding whistler during the olympics was great.. there was no-one in the village and the hills were EMPTY. i remember one day in particular.. there were 25 freshies.. and i was alone in the park for most of the day. seriously i took about 6 or 7 lines before i saw a soul. if there is anything that came from the grand ordeal .. in my opinion.. was the local riders had their chance for the greatest opportunities as well.

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