22
August 2016
2016-08-23T10:56:44+00:00

There were a lot of thoughts, posts and tweets about the controversial topic “Skateboarding & The Olympic Games”. But what do the pro-skaters think about it? Gentsch sat down with Chris Haslam to discuss it in the details.

Chris Haslam Portrait

When this years Olympic Games in Rio started a team of riders that skate for companies of the Dwindle Distribution were touring Europe. On the first day of the tour the guys got the news that will be on skaters’ minds for the next four years from time to time: Skateboarding will be part of the Olympics in 2020!

Gentsch and Chris Haslam, both pioneers and old hands in skateboarding, sat down to talk about this special and controversial topic. Get ready for Haslam’s thoughts on this decision as well as for some interesting questions, which also renew questions that can’t be answered yet.


Gentsch
Yo Haslam, last night it was announced, that the next Olympics will have skateboarding in it. We already briefly talked about your thoughts, but I wanna come back to this topic.

Haslam
2020, right…?

Gentsch
Yeah 2020, exactly! Will you compete in them then?

Haslam
Hmmm, how do I feel about that Gentschman? I’m gonna be forty in 2020, hahaha. Is that already too old?

Gentsch
Nah, I don’t think so!

Haslam
I don’t know. I guess, it’s a bit different, if you embarrass yourself on a national level it might be OK, but on an international worldly TV thing and you just completely embarrass yourself ’cause you are totally useless at skating that crap… It sounds like a good time, hahaha. End then you even get paid for it. Or, maybe probably not, hahaha.

Gentsch
I talked to Flo Mirtain about it the yesterday, and he was like “The French athletes are getting paid some serious money”!

Haslam
Well, I mean, people, in the end, will get paid, at least from their sponsors in some way. I don’t know about how much countries as themselves will or would do so, where did this even come from?

“I think, as soon, as the Olympics will be finalised, it might become even worse for skateboarders out on the streets. Because, the thing is, they will build more skateparks, which is awesome on the one hand, but on the other, they will give you a harder time on the street just BECAUSE of that!”

Chris Haslam - Stalefish Chris Haslam – Stalefish To Fakie – Gentsch

 

Gentsch
Flo and I googled it up. 65 grand in France for a gold medal for example!

Haslam
Like, countries, they really do? So, right here, where does this money then come from? Taxpayers?

See, and this is one of those things I am curious to see what’s gonna happen. If you get a gold medal, and all those tax payers are actually putting money together to pay you thousands and thousands of Euros…those are the people normally kicking you out of a spot!

Another thing is, and this is where it is gonna become seriously interesting: Picture this, you win a gold medal, come back to the hotel after ceremonies, and let’s say you skate the rail in front of the hotel and you get arrested for that!? So, within a fifteen hour period, you went from a praised gold medalist olympian to a criminal! Now you are faced with vandalism and trespassing charges.

THIS is the stuff I am really curious about to see how all this is gonna be handled.

I think, as soon, as the Olympics then will be finalised, it might become even worse for skateboarders out on the streets. Because, the thing is, they are will build more skateparks, which is awesome on the one hand, but on the other, they will give you a harder time on the street just BECAUSE of that!




“[Some countries] will have machines in 2020 competing for their country. Ultimate technical machines representing their country. ”

Chris Haslam - Handplant Chris Haslam – Invert To Fakie – Gentsch

 

Gentsch
You think more parks will be build?

Haslam
Oh yeah, there will be training facilities! Especially in countries, which just from their natural just don’t have the abilities and infrastructure to keep their “athletes” in a way of permanent natural training. Like everyday skateboarding.

Countries like that, they will start doing something, if not already doing so. They will have machines in 2020 competing for their country, ultimate technical machines representing their country.

Gentsch
You think there will be coaches?

Haslam
Probably! I don’t know yet, how that’s gonna work, but… I think so, yeah! But again right here, picture the difference. All those ones, who come from the “West-Side” of the world, like, people, who are familiar with the skateboard history as well, those guys will probably all be ex-pro’s. So they all will know, how things go and all that. This will be the best and easiest job in that whole thing.

What I am really interested in as well is, if they are all gonna wear uniforms?! Matching uniforms! The whole team. I mean, you gonna have to wear track suits, snowboarders do have to do so already. You will have to know the national anthem.

Drug testing is another whole one of a different story…! We will see how that goes, hahaha! I am assuming they all have to stop… NOW, hahaha! To be sober THEN, hahaha!

Otherwise, it’s probably just me and McCrank, hahaha… and those other people who don’t drink and party… don’t know who that actually is, but… Oh man, it’s gonna be so funny!

I don’t know where I am gonna be when forty, but… coach, yeah, maybe coach is a good idea for me, better than competing!

Gentsch
I looked at Jenkem this morning and they had an article about what kinda disciplines will be in the Olympics. They made four suggestions…

Haslam
Oh, you mean like vert, street…?

Gentsch
Yeah, actually they suggested vert, mega ramp, downhill and game of skate…

Haslam
Game of Skate?! Oh mein Gott!

Game of skate?! Oh my god! I mean, mega ramp obviously, vert makes sense, game of skate is a stupid idea, and downhill, like downhill racing, that is a different kind of skating which I would understand, too!

This is something I haven’t even thought about. I think of vert and street league type of street skating, but yeah, downhill racing… I can see that being in there. That wouldn’t affect me at all because my boards are like 32 inches long and I don’t wear spandex. They can do whatever they want, hahaha.

What I am asking myself is, how is the “street-skating genre”, like our “game”, how is this gonna be represented? Will it be run like a street-league, or is it gonna be run like the X-Games or the DEW Tour, where they have downhill slope parcours? I could bet they will have that one.

That would be gnarly because that is entertaining for people to watch, ’cause they see and can relate to a car. They see a container, or a truck, and can relate to sizes of these things. When somebody kickflips over a car or off a container, that’s always something to watch.

I just hope it’s not gonna be someone trick one try, next… one trick, one try, neeeext…! THAT would be boring as hell! I wouldn’t want to watch that shit.

But again, when it comes to longboarding and downhill race, would people be able to tell the difference in-between boards? I guess this would be the beginning to understand the fucking difference between those two!




“You know, what would be dope? Some 4KAMPF type of thing, with one set up. Then the tech 52 mm guy has to bomb a hill with this setup. And then skate the mega and then the vert contest.”

Chris Haslam - BS Tailslide Chris Haslam – Curb Wallie To BS Tailslide – Gentsch

 

Gentsch
Would you agree when I say “Skateboarding in Olympics should only be things with “regular” skateboards?

Haslam
Well, even that would be hard to say. You’d have to think about it if you’d want to make more categories to be present. Is mega ramp skating something similar? Not comparable.

But if you skate mega you have a way bigger board as well, than you would have on the street. And then, questions are coming up again! Is there a limitation on the size of your board?

Cause maybe, if you skate the mega and you have a board a bit longer than the other guy, are you gonna be flying through the air differently?

So again, they will possibly also have to put regulations on boards and board sizes, and truck widths and wheel sizes.

Or hollow trucks, maybe Tensor has no hollow truck, and maybe some other company has. Is there an advantage for the other dude then?

It will all go down to that kinda shit, you know what I mean!? Obviously, the guy with the 57mm wheel is gonna go faster than the one with the 52mm.

You know, what would be dope? Some 4KAMPF type of thing, with one set up. Then the tech 52 mm guy has to bomb a hill with this setup. And then skate the mega and then the vert contest, hahaha.

Gentsch
I guess the only person being able to do it would be Danny Way… and Bob Burnquist. But besides…

Haslam
Ey, did you ever see that fucking “Ice Cross Downhill” thing? Like this downhill four-peoples race, ice-skaters are having for a while now? I could see that, too, hahaha!

Gentsch
Yeah, but then again, I can already hear people hating to the max…

Haslam
Either way, there will always people be hating, whatever you are gonna do.

Gentsch
Do you have a clue, how they are gonna make some qualification happening? I mean, if each country wants to send like three skaters, but there can’t be hundreds of countries sending three each, because of way different levels. How is this going to be solved?

Haslam
Well, first of all, surely there have to be some qualifications in each country. You are probably gonna start it like, in Canada for example, with like cities, then states, then all over national and then all of North America. And then you might have the all over North American results and take the best three Canadians from there.

Gentsch
But look at Europe then, where there are way more countries than North America for example. Will you then send like ten Germans, ten Frenchies & ten from Spain? How is it possible to make a legit qualification there?

Haslam
Dude, it’s gonna be weird, that’s for sure. Just when you start thinking about how many smoke weed, they might be the best ones, but can’t compete there. And then you got the next guy, who is clean, but way not as good. I think, that is gonna be the most interesting thing to watch for me, how the fuck they will figure all this out!

I don’t give a shit about the actual contest, but people from outside of skateboarding trying to regulate stuff inside skating in order to get them to do this and that on an international level. This will be very entertaining!


“There is and will always be those dudes in skateboarding refusing to adjust to rules and stuff like that. Skateboarding has always been more of an anti-establishment thing. ”

Chris HaslamChris Haslam – Gentsch

 

Gentsch
Do you see any of the Antihero dudes in there?

Haslam
Haha, well, probably not. There is and will always be those dudes in skateboarding refusing to adjust to rules and stuff like that. Skateboarding has always been more of an anti-establishment thing.

It was always a way to express themselves for kids, who would NOT fit into these type of normal sports. Especially team sports. We skaters were always classed as outsiders, not caring about police, jumping over fences to skate private property.

And there are a lot of dudes holding that shit tightly, because of the way skating has changed their life just because it is like that, you know what I mean?! And especially for these people, now having people who were always against them, trying to get them do get a gold medal for their country. I think that is gonna infuriate a lot of the skateboarding world.

The whole time skateboarding has been around we have always been silently against authorities, the norm, of what parents or the generation before saw as an appropriate sport. So, skateboarders might think, that society is finally starting to get control over them and over how skateboarding is because now they put up rules.

You get the rule you can’t smoke weed anymore, you can’t do what you want, you can’t wear what you want. You might have to cut your hair, you can’t skate the contest without a shirt because you have some weird tattoo. And all of this goes against skating and what it is all about since the entire time it’s been existing.

 

Gentsch
You think that there are already kids out there who haven’t started for these reasons mentioned but for becoming gold medalist winners, or at least becoming “athletes”?

Haslam

Yeah, that’s what I mean. I mean skating goes in waves, when vert-skating died, street-skating starter, then the vert skaters hated the street skaters because their whole skating world was coming down. Then even street skating died almost in the early nineties, and NOW everything moves sooo quickly, that everything just happens so quick you don’t even realise what’s going on. You don´t even know where to look. So the kids that start skating now, they won´t have the same mind-frame, that we all have.

And I guess it’s so hard for people like you and me to understand that, because we are like the old guys now, with an old state of mind about how skating was and is to us. But, you know, we can’t really change it, it can be good, it can be bad, I don’t know.

We will find out in four years I guess.

I am sooo excited who is gonna be in the Olympic committee for like the “skate side”, and who the hell is gonna be a judge? And, will they only have like “time-events”? Like, that would be easy to judge, you have a photo-finish and that’s it.

Or is it going to be like in diving, where you have 0-10s? And who the hell will be the poor people who have to judge that? It has to be some older skaters.

Gentsch
And then as well, judges will have to come from different countries then as well, for example out of china. But how is this person then again going to be capable of knowing anything in skateboarding that well, that he can judge?

Haslam
Exactly! Somebody from China, somebody from Brazil. All this is gonna take skateboarding and it’s consistency to ungodly levels!

Gentsch
You think there are gonna be like ten Nyjah clones coming from China?

Haslam
Oh hell yeah, for sure. As soon as the Chinese know, or got to know, that skateboarding is gonna be in the Olympics… I mean, the Chinese are pretty serious about any sport, and as soon as they realise, that there is some sport where they can get athletes on the podium they will start pushing. Just think about how many amazing sports people come out from China, and I think there is will some intense heat from countries like China.

I mean, if you are a kid there in one of those countries and you can win thousands and thousands of dollars, you’ll be like “I’m gonna fucking study that shit! I am a made man afterwards”.

Chris HaslamChris Haslam – Gentsch

 

Gentsch
And there is some money in there, too. So Chinese people get 31 grand for a gold medal, which I guess is a lot for Chinese people, in Germany, it’s about 20 grand.

Haslam
Damn, I think Nyjah makes 150 grand with a street league win, doesn’t he? But the Chinese, or also the Brazilians, I think they are gonna shock the world with some precision and technique right there.

For them, not being able to get well known in the skateboarding world, it’s gonna be that one way, the Olympics!

I mean, if you are a kid there in one of those countries and you can win thousands and thousands of dollars, you’ll be like “I’m gonna fucking study that shit! I am a made man afterwards”.

Gentsch
And will there be suits or like jerseys from certain sponsors?

Haslam
Oh yeah, there might be some cross branding right there. I think in football you’ve had that too before, right? You get paid couple of millions by each sponsor, you’ll fucking cross brand the shit out of it, hahaha! Just think about how everybody is gonna wear team jerseys, that’s gonna be sooo sick! Tracksuits, oh my god! I can’t wait to see that!

Gentsch
Yeah Chris, in four years we will all be in Berlin at the skatepark, sit in the beer garden and watch the Olympics together. This is going to be amazing! Thanks for the interview bro, we will see how all this will turn out!

Haslam
Damn Gentsch, I can’t wait. And maybe we’ll even see you as a coach!


What do you think about Skateboarding & the Olympics?

Share your thoughts in the comment section down below!

Über

Switch Fakie Nollie - FTW! #NoHating