Anorak News | Board In The Extreme

Board In The Extreme

by | 10th, December 2005

‘WITH a couple of Olympics gold medals, not to mention the Holy Grail of British sport – a BBC Sports Personality of the year award to her name – our dear Dame Kelly Holmes has decided to jack in the early mornings and niggling injuries and retire from the track for good.

Holmes’ 800m and 1500m victories in the Athens Olympics amounted to Great Britain’s only two individual track golds and with the Beijing games now only two and a half years away, and the London games scheduled for 2012, the race is now well and truly on to find the next generation of British sporting talent.

Ex-army trainer Holmes has herself been busy trying to promote athletics among the nation’s youth and flush out the next Paul Radcliffe, Jonathan Edwards or Denise Lewis. However, no matter how much encouragement children are given to put on their spikes or pick up their javelins, the likelihood is that most kids will still be happier hanging around shopping centres sneering at the elderly, indulging in happy slapping and getting in our way with their skateboards.

So with our once svelte youth now piling on more pounds than Fern Britten at a pie-factory lock-in, maybe the time has come to ditch the traditional sporting fair and focus on the likes of skateboarding and BMX. Admittedly the phrase ‘Extreme Sports’ does make one think of irritating Beavis and Butthead-esque ‘dudes’ high-fiveing each other until their hands fall off.

Yet these ‘radical’ pursuits are now an integral part of our youth culture. And while the thoughts of representing your school in the Discus on a wet and cold Saturday afternoon is unlikely appeal to the cynical adolescent, the chance to show off on a skateboard would inevitably carry with it a lot more street cred.

In Olympic terms, elitist pursuits such as ‘Dressage’ and ‘Modern Pentathlon’ continue to take pride of place in the games, yet, excluding members of the Royal family, just how many of us spend our weekends teaching our horses how to trot properly?

Although maybe once long ago, Dressage itself was considered and underground sport, with bored youths still waiting for the invention of rock ‘n’ roll and Playstations spending their free time hanging around street corners on horseback, practising the ‘leg-yield’ and the ‘half pass’ while off their heads on pink gin and eccles cakes.

The subject of skateboarding in the Olympics is currently a hotly debated topic in the skate community – a positive sign that 50-50’s, ollies and grinds may yet be gracing the games in the not too distant future.

Indeed, maybe we will get to see the kind of teenager currently demonised in the media and slung out of shopping centres wearing their hoodies with pride as they take their place on the Olympic podium. And when you consider that the likes of live pigeon shooting, the aquatic obstacle race and tug of war have all been, at one stage or another, Olympic sports, nothing is impossible.

With Snowboarding and Mountain Biking already accepted into the mainstream Olympic movement and BMX set for its debut in Beijing, the time is surely right for skateboarding to take its deserved places in the Games. And as ‘Extreme Sports’ carry with them more than a faint whiff of drug-taking and illicit activities, they’ll fit right in with the Olympic movement.

Alan Duffy’

Posted: 10th, December 2005 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink