Posts Tagged ‘the Olympics’

The Ring Thing

February 18, 2010


Rings n’ things

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 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. 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 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 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.

And beyond plunder, what would the big O bring to skateboarding beyond a healthy dose of good-natured nationalism and hours of painful narration? Remember the “harnie”? It is for this reason that applause should greet 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 skateboarding 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

A Chilling Vision of Things to Come

July 29, 2009

hail-ants
Shouts to Ross Powers, Kenny Brocklestein and Hewlett-Packard

There are days when a dude can do two switch 360 flips in the same line and it comes off all inspired, like there’s still little chunks of zany magic to be scraped from the cracked maple veneers of this earthly life. And then you got days when the Olympics seem like a depressing inevitability that will transform each session into a practice and once-dirtbag kids into future competitors for the glory of succulent Olympic gold. Because, you can’t eat just one.

Anyway, for those of you that are like me and caught this NY Times article on Shaun White’s non-skating Olympic training regimen, today was of the second type. Behold, and imagine a future 10 years from now by swapping out the term snowboarding for skateboarding:

With a deep and talented field, qualifying for the four spots on the United States men’s halfpipe team will be highly competitive. To help riders prepare this summer, the United States Ski and Snowboard Association helped finance construction of a 22-foot-tall halfpipe that meets Olympic specifications at the High Cascade Snowboard Camp on Palmer glacier at Mount Hood in Oregon. White was among several top professionals who spent time training there this month.

This part brings to mind the dudes fortunate enough to have their own multi-hundred-thousand-dollar megaramps, and the golf carts with which to properly traverse their length:

Last winter, Red Bull, one of White’s sponsors, built a private halfpipe at Silverton Mountain, a spartan resort in Colorado known for its extreme terrain. Rumors and images circulated on the Internet of White’s secret spot, with a giant air bag at the bottom of the halfpipe for soft landings while practicing tricks. His fellow professionals Keir Dillon and Heikki Sorsa joined White, but little was known about their sessions. In a sport in which top riders were accustomed to training together, a private halfpipe marked a departure from past practice. White’s rivals took note.

In June, Nike built Pearce a private halfpipe at Mammoth Mountain in California, which he rode for two weeks with his fellow United States Olympic hopefuls Danny Davis and the brothers Luke and Jack Mitrani. When asked which tricks he was working on, Pearce was circumspect.

“That’s the whole idea behind a private halfpipe, kind of keep it a bit quiet, not let everybody else know,” he said. “So once the season’s under way, it’s pretty much a surprise.”

Also, this:

He did not directly address questions about whether he would return to skateboarding next summer.

“Snowboarding has always been my main sport from the beginning,” he said. “I was just lucky enough to have my snowboarding skills cross over to skateboarding.”

Will the skateboard industry survive this global recession without help from the Flying Tomato, the most recognizable personality in action sports? Spoiler alert, the answer is no. For those of you struggling to process this news, several concerned parties plan to get reincarnated as grackles and deposit droppings on Shaun White’s Lambo as a form of avian vengeance from beyond the grave. Login “grackle”, password “gracklezrule2005”