The Olympics wound up today and depending on who you ask, it came with many varied successes as well as a few possible failures.
Obviously, the woman sprinter from Belarus has a few things to work out, and the long-term impacts of holding a huge sporting event during a global pandemic will probably be debated for years to come.
However, overall, the Games seemed like a positive in most regards.
But how about our little world?
Surfing and skating.
Again, depending on who you ask, there will be a full spectrum of opinions.
Of course, anyone involved organizationally is gushing platitudes of complete success, mission accomplished, etc.
And this is quite possibly true as the low bar goal for both skating and surf, as held by their respective organizers, was in most regards one of simply introducing both sports to a wider, mainstream audience.
Skating did seem to one-up surfing in that aspect as it’s simply much easier to put on an event and it’s also way easier for a non-participant to follow along, so to speak. Cute, smiling, prepubescent faces winning medals doesn’t hurt either with the host country Japan coming up huge with multiple podium apperances.
On the other hand, was skateboarding really represented in a way that most everyday skaters see it? Many core message boards and social feeds might suggest other-wise with comments lamenting the ”death” of skateboarding and other gloom and doom sentiments. If we’re being honest, a very different version was served up in the Olympics than one might find in, let’s say, the latest issue of Thrasher, for instance.
A Jeff Grosso metaphorical middle finger was certainly not part of the Olympic program.
RIP Jeff. Your take on all of this was surely missed.
It will be interesting to see where skating goes from here.
Surfing, on the other hand, was pretty predictable in a familiar sameness that most competitive adaptations are known for: poor surf, inconsistent judging, boring format, etc. One of the highlights being Snoop Dog and Kevin Hart’s hilarious reporting on Italo “Ferrero” breaking his board on a close-out bash. Kevin’s well-worn reverse racism punch lines offending some of our POC friends, but that aside, NBC took a crazy chance on these two and it was pretty damn funny.
So Fernando and the ISA now have 3 years to step back and look at what the successes were and how to eliminate the negatives. With all eyes on Tahiti, there is quite a bit of optimism that Teahupo’o will solve most of the problems but that naivete is ignorant of so many things.
Finding a way to actually get it on broadcast TV being just one. How many non-surfers, of whom this was supposed to pull in, do you think actually went through the myriad hoops trying to find one of the streaming sources on which surfing was broadcast on?
In the US, it was playing live at like 3:00 AM most days.
Also, getting the best in the world involved instead of trying to form some kind of global surfing Peace Corps might be a consideration as well. The fact that Felipe Toledo wasn’t involved was a huge miss. One could also say that Kelly, with his wide-ranging media appeal, should have been there too.
Last, maybe have an alternate on-site next time?
See ya in France.